Jeans Wilder


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Andrew Caddick's first Jeans Wilder album Nice Trash was so far-flung in its lo-fi explorations that it often felt like the work of a smaller-scale Ariel Pink, but on Totally, he reins in the eclecticism in favor of beachy, droning pop. The crackling campfire and crashing surf sound effects on the serene opener "Blue Dream" prove that the palm trees and dinosaur in the sand on the album cover aren't there for nothing, and Totally's song titles seem like they could be captions to snapshots taken on summer vacation. The prowess Caddick showed at piling busy layers of sound on top of each other on Nice Trash is transformed into a knack for creating mellow atmospheres here, especially on "Evaporated" and "Gravity Bong," both of which capture the joy of doing nothing slowly in their tinny, looped beats and naive melodies. Even when Caddick cranks up the volume, as on the ultra-distorted "Sunroof" and "Dog Years," the effect is still pretty instead of punishing, and these songs end up being nearly as transporting as quieter moments like "Slow Burn," which manages to stay on the right side of the fine line between lulling and boring. Totally's simpler approach also puts the focus on Caddick's melodies, which shine brightest on "Limeade"'s nostalgic pop, "Chlorine"'s blurry heartache, and "Maple Bars" meandering whimsy, which sounds like a suburban summer -- complete with barking dogs -- condensed into a handful of minutes. On first listen, Totally seems too simple to work, but its sweetly evocative sound portraits end up growing more interesting with repeated listens, revealing the album as the soundtrack to an idyllic summer that might just be a figment of Caddick's imagination.

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