From Wild Child
Wild Child doesn’t want a place to hide. Song after song, town after town, they’ll wear their hearts on their sleeves, addicted to the rush that only comes when thousands of strangers know all your secrets and sing them back to you, because they’re their secrets, too.
“It's not necessarily the performing that's addictive, but being able to connect with that many people at once,” says Kelsey Wilson, who shares lead vocal and songwriting responsibilities for the Austin-based seven-piece band with Alexander Beggins. “You feel like you're together in something––like you experience the whole thing together. It’s family therapy with a lot of dancing.”
Wild Child’s third album Fools (out via Dualtone Records) is an ambitious collection of lush pop that takes sad stories and transforms them into an ebullient love letter to the power of music and the art of living with yourself.
Made up of Kelsey on violin and vocals, Alexander on ukulele and vocals, Evan Magers on keyboards, Sadie Wolfe on cello, Chris D'Annunzio on bass, Drew Brunetti on drums, and Matt Bradshaw on trumpet, Wild Child has gone from playing shows for nine people to selling out venues across North America and Europe. The group built a sprawling grassroots following on the strength of high-spirited live shows that feel like self-contained joy benders, along with two precocious albums––2011’s Pillow Talk and 2013’s The Runaround––and performances on the Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson and CBS Saturday Morning.
Produced by Peter Mavrogeorgis and David Plakon with additional tracks helmed by red-letter guest producers Max Frost (“Break Bones”) and Chris "Frenchie" Smith (“Trillo Talk”), Fools was recorded at Doll House Studios in Savannah, Georgia. Kelsey and Alexander co-wrote all of the record’s songs, while the title track was penned by the entire band––a first for the group. The act of consciously playing the fool shows up repeatedly throughout Fools, and Wild Child flaunts a postmodern comfort with perspective’s slippery grip on truth. “The Cracks” pulses with uncertainty, while in “Bullets,” Kelsey croons, “I know you think I took a lot from you.” “Meadows” asks a lover how much they’re willing to sacrifice, while “Take It” and “Reno” tackle separation and trust.
The sole purely exuberant note on the album, “Bad Girl” is a Motown-inspired celebration of the birth of Kelsey’s first niece. “Oklahoma” was slated for The Runaround but didn’t quite fit until Fools. Originally intended for Pillow Talk, “Stones” was mined from lyrics Kelsey penned when she was 15 years old. “Break Bones” is a stunner––a big, bold, beautiful pop song praying a fight continues indefinitely, because that’s all that’s left. “Trillo Talk,” a last minute addition to the record and an ideal closer, winks to fan favorites “Pillow Talk” and “RilloTalk” and soars triumphantly. “It’s the last thought––everything is going to be okay…but it's not. But, it feels alright,” Alexander says.
Wild Child doesn’t pull punches. Their songs sting as they groove, cutting lyrics massaged by cooing vocals and bouncy ukulele. So we’re dancing and laughing before we realize we’ve got tears in our eyes, entranced by Wild Child’s dizzying contradiction: sour truths that sound so sweet.
Fools is an unashamed breakup album, but it’s more than last rites for lovers. The record also bids farewell to the traditional lives Kelsey and Alexander had thought lie in store. “We're about to live day to day for a long time, and our relationships are going to fall apart,” Kelsey says. “Our home lives are going to fall apart. And there's nothing we can do about it. So, the record is also about letting go of expectations, just playing the fool. Fools is a release––a blind step out.”