Across the Board meld heavy grooves with decadent harmonies in their latest offering Wild Ones
Across the Board meld heavy grooves with decadent harmonies in their latest offering Wild Ones, and render some pretty terrific results to say the least. In songs like the atmospheric “Eye of the Storm,” melodies that are as soft as clouds are shaped into zealous pop jams that feature a post-rock surrealism that the band wears quite well, while in others like “Monster” and “Graffiti,” it’s the danceable grooves that are winning our hearts and leaving us aching for more from this group. I wasn’t very familiar with Across the Board before picking up this LP, but I must say that I instantly became a big fan after my first listen of its top notch content.
The textures in Wild Ones are telling as us much of a story as the lyrics are, with the most cerebral examples being the title track, “Calling,” “Alpha Wolf” and “All Gone.” Across the Board’s new album makes for an awesome case study in the contemporary postmodern movement for a few reasons, chief among them being their decadent merging of straightforward basslines and buoyant, neo-psychedelic melodies. So many bands are trying to achieve what these cats are in this record, and yet for all of the struggle, Across the Board makes it look so simple here.
Intimate lyrics are a key component in what makes Wild Ones the sonic tour de force that it is, but I think it’s worth pointing out that, even at their most personable (such as “Eye of the Storm” and “Calling”), the words in these songs never embrace egotistical narratives. Every track is as accessible as the one next to it, and while there’s no blanket-relatability akin to something you’d find in a candy pop record, there’s certainly an open-ended theme to these songs that makes them palatable to anyone who has ever experienced emotions that linguistics alone simply cannot convey.
There’s a physicality in “Monster,” the title track and “Eye of the Storm” that is balanced out by the sleek framework in “Alpha Wolf,” “Calling” and “All Gone,” and while you could probably divide Wild Ones into two acts that are aesthetically distinct from one another, I don’t know that the music would be nearly as engaging if you were to do so. These tracks flow together beautifully in a progressive arrangement, and robbing yourself of the chance to experience the grandiosity of all eight stacked together wouldn’t be something that I’d recommend; at the very least, I get the idea that Across the Board certainly didn’t intend for us to.
I don’t think that there’s any need to debate this – Across the Board’s Wild Ones is the most fascinatingly original LP of the season, and an album that I believe qualifies as a must-listen for anyone who considers themselves to be keen on rising stars of the underground. This band has been making noise in Canada for a hot minute now, but this record could bring them the international attention that they’ve been chasing after for years. It’s one of my favorite listens of 2019, and after you give it a shot for yourself, I think you’ll share my sentiment.