Mat Devine is taking a bit of a break from Kill Hannah to try something new. His solo project, dubbed Wrongchilde, took to PledgeMusic with some fairly outrageous packages for the truly devoted to raise the funds to produce a debut album. Devine’s managed to pull in some big names from the American alternative scene, like Gerard Way and Sierra Kusterbeck, and it’s fair to say that in some ways, Gold Blooded is a pretty ambitious record.
In other ways, it just sounds like a softer version of Kill Hannah. Fans of KH won’t be disappointed, but they won’t exactly be surprised either. While Kill Hannah have been consistently putting out big rock tunes since forever, a lot of slower, more considered tracks have been sneaking on to their latest records, despite a surge in popularity that would probably have suggested otherwise. But, it’s fair to say that Gold Blooded takes full advantage of the experience and sound that Devine’s been previously crafting and cranks it up to 11. Tracks like ‘Call Me Crash’ and title track ‘Gold Blooded’ probably wouldn’t sound out of place on a KH record, with sweeping and echoey guitars, big riffs and clever hooks.
However, there’s a huge influx of 80s influence, both good and bad. The huge synths and goth vibes on ‘Lace Up Your Boots’ are just perfect, and ‘Hopeless Beach’ sounds like it just stepped out of a John Hughes movie. Seriously. A fairly awful key change in ‘Dance to Your Heartbeat’ nearly threatens to unseat the record entirely, but Gerard Way’s appearance in ‘Falling in Love Will Kill You’ rescues it all from certain oblivion. If there’s any 80’s pop cliché you can name, Devine’s probably made it, but nine times out of ten, it’s far too good to bemoan. Instead, you’ll be jumping in the car and heading off on one of those coming-of-age roadtrips… even when you’re 20-something.
Lyrically, Devine’s still as abstract as ever, but his storytelling skills remain perfectly intact. There are many tales of heartbreak, though none as eloquent as ‘Frostbite Year’, and lead single ‘Falling In Love Will Kill You’ goes in hard and fast with the metaphor, offset just perfectly by a gentle acoustic backing. For the most part, it’s all pretty beautiful.
Whether you’re a Kill Hannah fan or not, it’s going to be impossible to ignore Wrongchilde. Devine’s first pop album is absolutely stunning – the perfect soundtrack to summer.
4 out of 5 high fives!