Beyond LA: Wild Heart Club Soothes Heartbreak and Band-breaks with Retro-Gleaming Pop on Debut Album “Arcade Back in Manitou”

Wild Heart Club
Photo by Anna Haas

As the vehicle for producer and singer/songwriter Kristen Castro’s retro-gleaming creations, Wild Heart Club started as a coping mechanism for a two-fold breakup of a relationship and her band. Stuck inside like everyone else during the pandemic, the Mexican-American artist found catharsis by retreating into the dually digital and analog conjured dreamworlds of her sleek indie-pop, and when she finally emerged it was with her debut album Arcade Back in Manitou.

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On it, she mingles a nostalgia for the delicious pop-hooks of everyone from Fleetwood Mac to Cocteau Twins with her own personal pinings for a time before such heartache. Her grandiose melodies are saturated in luminous riffs, soaring vocals, and the kind of shimmering synth-pop infusions that leave you baptized in their radiant emotion. As the lilting glow of album-opening instrumental “Her, If Losing You Had a Sound” starts to fade the glimmering anthemics of its title track begin. From then on the album is a careful balancing act between looking back on what’s been lost and trying to move on with some semblance of hope.

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On “Glitter on the Drum,” Castro tries to both smother and outrun her melancholy with the glimmering oscillations of ethereal guitars and ecstatic percussion. Then there’s “Ever You Go” (feat. Super Ride) where she channels sublime Christine McVie-esque vocals through incandescent and breezy medleys, or the scintillating twinkle of riffs and xylophone that fill the background of “Chemistry.” The whole album is filled with such stunning moments as the guitar solo that finishes off “Down From the Heavens” or the brilliantly lush crescendo that rises out of “Rainbow.”

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Keep an eye out for new music by Wild Heart Club in the near future! She is currently working on releasing her sophomore album and will be sharing its first singles sometime this year — as well as plans for dates in Los Angeles and Nashville!

Visit Wild Heart Club on their website, Facebook, and Instagram to stay updated on new releases and tour announcements.

Words by Steven Ward

Listen to Wild Heart Club below!

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