Wild Child's Expectations Is Disappointingly Tame 

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Courtesy Wild Child

“Silly Alex, don’t think that way,” a child says at the start of Wild Child’s fourth album, Expectations (Dualtone Records, 2018), immediately bringing to mind the intro of Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’ “Thrift Shop.” The resulting track is 180 degrees from the “What, what" chorus and drumline/saxophone groove of "Thriftshop"—but it still works. The seven-piece self-described “pop mini-orchestra” starts with a single, breezy ukulele and singer/violinist Kelsey Wilson’s breathy vocals and builds to a perky acoustic potpourri in the first minutes of “Alex."

This is a perfect preview for how the album sounds—I’d call it "casual oomph." 

Songs that highlight the dynamic interplay between Wilson and Alexander Beggins’ vocals, such as “Back and Forth” and “Alex,” can be captivating. The two singers balance each other so well that they should make it a point to double up on all of their tracks.

However listenable and enjoyable Expectations is, though, I was disheartened that the record wasn’t more exciting overall. There are moments of passionate vocals and dominant bass lines, but it’s lacking a little something extra. When the group injects a carefree pop-rock vibe, like they do briefly with a powerful intro to “My Town” and trumpet runs during “Back and Forth,” they become more engaging and dance-worthy, but those moments are too few and too brief.

Wild Child also released a three-track EP at the end of last year, but it just feels like a subdued followup to the record. For a band that decided to put "Wild" in its name, the record and EP are disappointingly tame.

Wild Child will play at Neurolux on Saturday, Jan. 19, at 8:30 PM, with opener Batty Jr.

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