For Those Who Like: Reignwolf, Led Zeppelin, The White Stripes

Christopher Wild on his self-titled debut album, which was released on April 15, has produced a record that I hoped The Black Keys would have produced (not to say Turn Blue is a bad record) – raw, gritty, explosive garage rock that is absolutely relentless from start to finish. From the onslaught of Wild’s guitar playing to Wild’s roaring, fiery voice, to Wild’s booming percussion, the Cleveland-born, Nashville-resident rocker just hits you again and again and again, like a prized fighter raining jabs on an overwhelmed underdog. But in this case, you don’t wish to concede, but instead you want more. Even on the slower, more bluesy tracks, Wild surprises you with the ferocity of his guitar playing and his storytelling.

And if you haven’t noticed, this is a DIY album, where Wild plays every instrument. This little detail is what gives the album its soul and identity.

The album opens with four crushing, heart-pounding rockers. “Pulse”, which true its name is a pulsating, guitar-electrifying rock song. “Doctor Please” accelerates the action with Wild going full throttle on guitar and drums, recalling the spectacular, intense garage rock of The White Stripes during their peak. “Talk About Love” slows down a little bit, providing a more melodic tone but, of course, with the guitar flurries in the second half of the track.

“Save My Soul”, meanwhile, is a sizzling, Led Zeppelin-esque song.

The next three songs take on more of a blues-rock feel. “It Don’t Mean a Thing (a side)” is a bluesy, slower-paced tune. “It Don’t Mean a Thing (b side)” is a mid-tempo, head pounding number, similar to the great Gary Clark, Jr. and, during the peaks of the chorus, with a touch of Rage Against the Machine’s Zach de la Rocha.

“Strawberry Lips” is a slow burner of a blues-rock tune that has Wild simultaneosly channeling Jimmy Page and Robert Plant in intensity, screaming vocals, and the screeching guitar.

“Remember Me” is the lone post-punk rock song with its frenetic pace and structure. “Drunk with You” is the one track that shows Wild’s age and innocence, as sings about the little activities he wants to do with a loved one (or one with whom he’s infatuated). “Home” is a mellow bluesy track that at times echos of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. And the closer, “The Day”, is a short and only non-guitar track, that has Wild playing a few notes on the piano and singing about a time and a man before his birth.

Wild’s self-titled debut album is stellar. It is an album that hopefully won’t get overlooked like past, gritty efforts like B. Hamilton’s 2012 album, Everything I Own is Broken. You can purchase Wild’s album on iTunes, eMusic, and on his bandcamp site.

By the way, I have to give Mackenzie Scott – aka TORRES, who had one of the best albums of 2013– credit for posting Wild’s album on her Facebook page. Who said Facebook was useless?

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