If you’re a fan of pop punk and metal and have paid attention to the internet over the last 7 or 8 years, there’s a pretty high chance that This Wild Life is a name you’re familiar with. If not, you probably recognise the name but you aren’t sure where from. They skyrocketed onto the radar after posting a couple of cover videos on YouTube, most notably If It Means A Lot To You by A Day To Remember and Sleepwalking by Bring Me The Horizon, the latter of which went somewhat viral on social media. Oli Sykes also expressed his love of the cover and added it to a bonus remix CD for Sempiternal. They’ve released a string of EP’s and albums over the last few years showcasing that they’re absolutely capable of more than just covers, which brings us to now. To Petaluma, their newest full length record. There’s only one way to describe it really. It’s wonderful.
This is everything you’d want from an acoustic record and pop punk record all rolled into one. It’s upbeat, it’s fun, and most importantly it’s incredibly catchy. Headfirst is crammed full of melodies that weave themselves into your brain on the first listen, refusing to let go. You’ll find yourself humming the chorus before you’ve even finished the first listen. Positively Negative would work as a full blown pop punk track with a bit of distortion, but it’s perfect just the way it is. Come Back Down boasts a few surprise instruments, most notably a trumpet which plays the main melody whilst the guitars and vocals delicately float over the top to create an unforgettable gem. This record isn’t all clear skies and sunshine though; there’s actually a lot of deep rooted emotion being displayed here. Lyrically, the band consider this to be the most diverse record they’ve done, tackling subjects like sexual abuse on Westside and trying to find the light in dark times on Never Believe. The record is very mature sounding, and musically is also the most explorative and experimental they’ve released to date. On every single aspect of their music, they’ve stepped things up a notch. They’ve raised their own bar.
Through the whole album, you can picture it as a pop punk album. Every single song has the characteristics and and feel of pop punk, just without all the instrumentation and distortion. That said, though, I don’t think it would carry as well if it did have it. The feel good vibe and sunshine that’s in this record flourishes in the soft and soothing tones. It also gives the changes in dynamics so much more impact, allowing choruses to truly swell and soar as they should. A truly wonderful record from a truly wonderful band. Go outside, sit in the sun and listen to this record; you’ll love it.