Standout Tracks: Elixir, So, Still Life.
Fresh off the heels of acclaimed sophomore album Everyday, released February of this year, Grammy winning songwriter and artist Tourist (William Phillips) is back once again to deliver total sonic cohesion in the form of Wild, the third LP from the acclaimed producer.
Wild opens with the glitchy And So You Were—a slow building introduction to the album that sounds like tuning the radio dial till you find exactly what you were searching for. In essence, this is exactly what Wild is; Phillips finding the sound he spent so long experimenting to hone. The song flows succinctly into lead single Elixir—a stellar kaleidoscopic highlight of the album I found myself going back to. The bouncy traveling pace of the melody combined with the intricate building soundscapes Tourist creates shows exactly why he is very much an artist’s artist—counting Flume and Porter Robinson as fans.
Bunny and So follow suit, both pre-released singles. The darker tone of So feels refreshing and adds something new to the mix. Similarly, the twinkling and vibrant Still Life also adds a unique flavour. With the introduction of vocals and piano it manages to keep the back half of the album from slipping completely.
Tourist takes the exploration of new and unfamiliar territories with past instalments, and settles on a well refined soil. Wild feels more cohesive and polished than the diverse experimentation of previous albums Everyday and U. The downside here is that the songs tend to feel repetitive towards the back-end. The album definitely suffers from putting your best foot forward so to speak, with the second half of the album feeling unparalleled by the first. Tracks like Fiction and 11. 12 tend to feel like lesser versions of songs previously heard already.
Where the experimentation and more pronounced vocals kept sophomore album Everyday feeling fresh and exciting, this album tends to lose its footing and backtracks to places it’s already been. It’s the few more out-there and vocal laden tracks that standout the most in this effort. That isn’t to say it doesn’t have its moments. The release of Kin has a momentous and powerful distorted trumpet and piano led conclusion. Closing track Together At The Centre Of Creation feels hopeful and big, a song very fitting of its name. The rising build-up to release that is a signature sound of this album pays off well here, with an upbeat flow of sounds and vocals simmering into a warm bubbly wave that leaves you wanting more.
As a whole, the album feels like a more cohesive outing this time, where Phillips has finally honed his experimentation into one shining soundscape that works quite well, albeit repetitive.
Tourist’s new album, ‘Wild’, is out Friday, October 18.