A kissing cousin to Sweden’s Radio Dept or label mates Craft Spells, Jack Tatum (aka Wild Nothing) spins a soft sonic security blanket of hazy synths, distorted guitars and cooed vocals that pay loving homage to the star-kissed dream-pop of the 1980s. But despite his distinctly Moz-like melancholy and his Robert Smith-style preoccupation with love, longing and loneliness, here’s never a sense that Tatum’s aping his influences — merely using them as a touchstone for his personal explorations.
A more cohesive statement than his bedroom-recorded 2010 debut Gemini, Nocturne features 11 subtle variations on Wild Nothing’s after-hours pop — all awash in a timeless sense of romanticism. The perkiest of the lot, the sun-streaked “Only Heather,” turns on a giddy refrain that any lovesick lothario could identify with, “Couldn’t even explain it, I won’t even try/ She is so lovely she makes me feel high.” Meanwhile, “Though the Grass” submerges the album’s key elements — synth and sadness — into a Cocteau Twins-style web of ambient atmospherics. However, it’s the guileless title track that holds the key to Nocturne, where amidst languorous guitar lines and echo-filled chants of “You can have me,” Tatum doesn’t just present his ideal dream pop — he fully embodies it.