Wilderness: (k)no(w)here

Wilderness guitarist Colin McCann's spindly, twangy work owes a significant debt to Gang of Four's Andy Gill, and between that and vocalist Jim Johnson's atonal declamations, the band frequently draws comparisons to post-punk bands like the Fall and Public Image Ltd. It's possible, however, to hear an entirely different set of connections on (k)no(w)here. McCann's guitar also has a chiming, martial quality; drawn out into long, slow, harmonically static songs, coated in reverb and backed by William Goode's stately drumming on a muted kit, it recalls the emo-­influenced indie-rock practiced in the '90s by minimalist bands like Boilermaker and, early in their career, Cursive. Johnson, for his part, could be a beefed-up version of U.S. Maple's Al Johnson (no relation, presumably) or Make Believe-era Tim Kinsella. Like the latter, Johnson has the air of a feral prophet. It's very easy to hear his strange bellowing as that of a man driven to speaking in tongues by the drama that his band's chant-like rock generates. On (k)no(w)here's last three songs, a periodic extended climax more than 20 minutes long that dominates the record, Wilderness plays two kinds of music at once: a cold meditation on harmony and dynamics, and a searing, animalistic cry of primeval emotion.

KEEP THE HOUSTON PRESS FREE... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Daniel Mee