Wilderness of Love is the full-length debut of Shadow Band, a psych-folk-rock group led by songwriter Mike Bruno, former leader of the Black Magic Family Band. He and his crew, which includes frequent Weyes Blood collaborator Jacob Brunner and producer Morgan Morel, made an attempt to record Wilderness of Love in a proper studio. However, in just a few days, they scrapped the idea (with the support of their label, Mexican Summer), missing the overcast, lo-fi dynamic so particular to the band's sound. The resulting home recording is part musical commune, part reefer basement, with a swirl of guitars, vintage keys, piano, bass, drums, tambourine, and occasional pan flute. Sticking close to the late '60s with influences from both Britain and San Francisco, the hazy set commits to minor keys and airy harmonies, as in "Eagle Unseen." The song also features prominent flute alongside a steady legato of chiming guitars as Bruno sings of darkness, fog, and "wild white wolves." Much of the record continues in kind, though there are occasional more lucid entries, such as "Indian Summer," which makes due with mostly acoustic and slide guitar, theremin, and light percussion. Elsewhere, "Mad John" is a more sinister electric-guitar freakout ("He'll blow your houses down/He'll terrify your town"), and songwriting highlight "Daylight" is an elegant reflection with acoustic guitar picking and flowing, Debussy-like chord progressions. Likely to try the patience of fans of lighter psych-pop fare, Shadow Band's Wilderness of Love targets sequestered late nights and trippier vibes.
AllMusic Review by Marcy Donelson