On their debut album Goin’ Back, Los Angeles indie-folk trio WILD continues to create for themselves a profoundly moving niche within the genre, intersecting the kind of anthemic alternative and pop hooks that make them such exciting newcomers. Made up of Lauren Luiz (vocals), Tyler Thompson (producer/guitar), and Zach Daegatano (vocals/guitar), WILD emphatically brand their style of folk as uniquely “L.A.” imbued with the atmospherics, aesthetics, and allures that coat the City of Angels.
Goin’ Back is as much an ode to the city they’ve called home as it is a testament to the band’s growth. Their debut, which already reveals their talent for sublime songwriting textured with a restless mixture of folk-pop, also promises continued growth that is unimpeded by any fears (or possibility) of being pigeon-holed.
But it’s not just the melodies that make Goin’ Back this powerfully optimistic and life-affirming collection of songs; its title track is a tidal wave of hopeful sentiments, thunderous declarations via howled harmonies by Luiz (joined by Zach Barnett) that wrap up much of the album’s overarching themes of self-assurance.
“This Is Our Time,” a drummed gallop of victorious assertions, is another phenomenal anthem; while the band bends into some slicker, pop-leanings with the buoyant beats and delicious hooks of “Friend Like You” or “Do It All Again,” a driving acoustic-led pop piece that calls to mind the sage-like Maggie Rogers. Jon Bryant joins the trio on the tenderly strummed and twinkling ballad “Always Be the Same,” a song that gently reassures in the same way that the supportive shouts and inspiring crashes of “Lean into It” call on us to let go of the fear that so often holds us back.
Continuously, the Goin’ Back makes a point of ensuring that we understand just how melodic (and catchy) it can be to write songs that concern themselves with spreading love, positivity, hope, and sincere connection. Without ever sounding trite or disingenuous, WILD have taken the once oversaturated tropes of indie-pop/folk and used them to inject something soberingly authentic. As on the album’s ending track “Take Time,” WILD never pretend the world is all sunshine and you won’t find any rose-colored glasses; instead, there’s a poignant understanding and belief that compassion is the glue that holds us together, not fear or greed. And sometimes all we need is a reminder to take the time to remember that, and WILD has put that reminder together in the form of a beautiful debut record.
“We make ‘L.A. Folk.’ If you go to Oregon, Tennessee, or Texas, the genre sounds different. This is what folk would sound like in Los Angeles because of the production and the hooks.” They add, “’Goin’ Back’ is something we’ve been working towards for a long time. We feel it embodies everything we stand for as a band and shows all our growth throughout the years.”