Label: Royal Mountain Records
Released: 14th October 2022
Like their songs, Wild Pink’s evolution from scratchy lo-fi indie-punks to indie-rock demi-gods has been slow, considered and deliberate. Even then, ‘ILYSM’ – the group’s fourth record – feels a world away from previous effort ‘A Billion Little Lights’. Indeed, it’s so far removed, it could have been lifted from a different continent. But, crucially, the fabric remains the same. John Ross has delivered something so moving and profound that it has the power to linger long after the closing notes of ‘ICLYM’ have faded from view.
‘ILYSM’ follows Ross’s cancer diagnosis, and this permeates every moment, but none more so than the extraordinarily beautiful ‘Hold My Hand’ (which features a guest spot by Julien Baker). A staple of John’s writing is the ability to look at the minuscule and massive through the same lens; contemplating the vastness of the universe and the wonder of simple life at the same time. In this song in particular – inspired by a conversation with a nurse shortly before surgery – Ross has come as close to anyone of unlocking the truth and beauty held within a song. It’s disarmingly devastating, capturing a momentous moment through microscopic actions and simple deeds. While Wild Pink’s earlier output has possessed an immediacy, ‘ILYSM’ is a suitably challenging listen, and features the group’s most progressive and confident arrangements yet. Several songs slowly crash through the five-minute mark, and there’s an unhurried pace and a reverential tone to much of the record.
Wild Pink have certainly taken their time to get there, but as they draw in more and more reference points, they’ve found a fine middle ground between slowcore, Americana and indie-rock. ■ Rob Mair