It's incredibly hard to separate ideas of time and place from Wild Pink's thematically dense but ever-shifting sound.
On the New York trio's self-titled 2017 full-length, such notions were explored in quiet, almost reverential rumination; languid and soft but possessing a steely underbelly. ‘Yolk In The Fur' sees such concepts racing far into the distance, evolving and bending at the speed of sound.
And it makes for a frequently thrilling, fluid listen, with the group exploring the reaches of their sound and taking faceted turns of style and extended instrumental detours as they grapple with the universe.
It's deep stuff too, focusing on some big questions of why we are here and if we can do better. Naturally, John Ross and Co. end up posing more queries than they answer, but they do provide ample opportunity for reflection all the same. This is especially true on the epic title track, ‘Yolk In The Fur' and the winding ‘Séance on St. Augustine St.'.
Elsewhere, familiar tropes anchor Wild Pink's sound with what's gone before. Opener ‘Burger Hill' and second track ‘Lake Erie' provide setting; the former a gentle and hushed number that paints a picture of a cold and frigid winter, which explodes into the widescreen melodrama of the latter. It's the same trick that worked so well on last year's self-titled, and repeated with just as much splendour here.
And, amidst the pedestrian pace, gorgeous pop songs gradually emerge from the fog. If the first half of ‘Yolk In The Fur' demonstrates the group's growing ambition to push sonic boundaries, the second half is a more immediate listen, bringing in a directness that propels proceedings forward.
In particular, the likes of ‘There Is A Ledger' and the Americana-tinged ‘John Mosby Hollow Drive' marry power-pop urgency to the lush sound and blue sky questions, creating delicate and brittle hooks that are at odds with the group's labyrinthine song structures. Indeed, a few tracks push the seven-minute mark, but you'd be hard-pressed to know it, thanks to the constant forward momentum and Wild Pink's innate ability to make every moment count.
Which brings us back to that idea of time. While Wild Pink's songs always have a place in mind, it is a place that stands frozen as a snapshot in John Ross' mind's eye. They are stories that are both timeless and ageless; elegant moments set free to drift through space forever more. Rob Mair