Released: November 4, 2008
Over the years, the term art rock hasn’t had a real solid definition, but it has consistently included bands that push creative limits even if some sacrifice the raw ability to rock in the process. To not call Wilderness an art rock band would be a mistake, but to limit them to the trappings of any single era of that shifting genre would be just as incorrect.
If (k)no(w)here has a fault, it’s that it tends to be art for art’s sake, abandoning the structure of pop music for more esoteric designs. That makes the album a difficult listen, but the challenge has its rewards. Taking everything from Velvet Underground to PiL in varying doses, Wilderness runs through the spectrum of the “high art” of rock music without settling in any one spot. Aside from “Strand the Test of Time,” which might as well be a lost Joy Division song, the album never gets into a rut of borrowing heavily from this or that. The result is an album both steeped in the art rock tradition and breaking out on its own, it’s challenge well worth accepting. Besides, arty or not, it rocks on its own terms.
If you’re curious about my rating categories, read the description.