For a band based in Baltimore, Wilderness sure is in touch with its British side. The band's just-released Vessel States and self-titled debut -- which garnered the quartet considerable acclaim from Pitchfork and its readers last year -- draw as heavily from the other side of the pond as they do on the flanged textures of Deconstruction, a one-off, mid-'90s project involving members of Jane's Addiction. Singer James Johnson favors a porridge-thick, exaggerated-syllable bellow that suggests John Lydon is a major influence of his, while the rest of the band -- bassist Brian Gossman, guitarist Colin McCann, and drummer Will Goode -- sinks its honed, glistening teeth into compelling if repetitive post-Joy Division rock workouts. There's a bit of the Talking Heads' stark extra-otherness, Mark E. Smith's righteous indignation, and Sonic Youth's pacing shimmer thrown in for good measure, and to powerful effect: True to its name, Wilderness aptly evokes a sense of being blissfully lost in the familiar.


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