Not sure when it was written, but the fact that Wild One’s new single is called “Curse Over Me” fits surprisingly well, considering the past year they’ve had. Last year was a little rough for the Portland-based quartet, as they experienced financial woes in light of their upcoming album release, hospital visits and the departure of a drummer Andy Parker.
Despite a rocky 2012, the synth-pop group returns for a busy 2013, with the release of their first full-length album, Keep it Safe, coming in early July—which also happens to be the first release for Party Damage Records, the new label co-run by former WW music editor Casey Jarman.
The first single off of that album, “Curse Over Me,” mixes the group’s characteristic electronic pop elements with live instrumentation, creating a song that flows easily, with the simple keyboard line melting easily into guitarist Clayton Knapp’s floating, distorted electric guitar. Danielle Sullivan’s vocals are as light and sweet as ever as they taunt “Who do you think you are?/I find it so easy/ Oh, you make it so hard.” Backed by smile-inducing harmonies and a floating synth line while remaining grounded by small flourishes of guitar and a basic drumbeat, “Curse Over Me” is a fun, slow grooving number that touches on love and being alone.
If this is what their full-length will have to offer, I have two words: yes please.
BONUS! A few quick questions for Wild Ones' Danielle Sullivan and Thomas Himes.
Willamette Week: Tell me a bit about "Curse Over Me." Where does it come from lyrically?
Danielle Sullivan: "Curse Over Me" was my very first attempt at writing a break-up song. It's about the implosion of a relationship. Sometimes it feels better to be with the wrong one rather than no one at all.
Is there a connecting theme running through the record? Where does "Curse Over Me" fit in with that?
Sullivan: As far as lyrical themes, "Curse Over Me is one of the darkest, most aggressive songs on the record.
Thomas Himes: The record has quite a range as far as lyrical themes and most are more optimistic than "Curse." However, the record is darker than our previous releases and I think "Curse" is an accurate depiction of that aural shift. Back to themes, I'd say the record revolves around personal relationships, and that includes, friends, lovers and enemies.
According to the press release, this album was recorded during a tumultuous year, which included "hospital visits and financial drama." Care to expound on that?
Himes: We've all been in a lot of bands preceding Wild Ones, all of which have broken down under similar circumstances. It was a grueling experience but I think it helped the record in the end. The hardships made us continually reaffirm our commitment to the record and our belief in it's artistic worth.
Q: How did those experiences and hardships shape this record, if at all?
Himes: Like i said above, it was a litmus test of sorts—a trying process that reassured us that what we were doing was worth finishing.
Q: Why title the album Keep It Safe?
Sullivan: Keep It Safe represents a desire to protect and preserve the purity that comes with making music that I love with my friends.
Q: What made you decide to put Keep It Safe out on Party Damage?
Sullivan: We have known Casey [Jarman] and Ben [Hubbird] since we first entered the Portland music scene in 2006. They have always been incredibly supportive and passionate about our projects so it feels natural to be releasing on their label. We feel very lucky to be working with those two studs.
Q: Everyone in the band has such varied backgrounds musically. How do you manage to find common ground within the songwriting?
Himes: We'd been in plenty of bands with the classic tortured-genius persona running the show. That musical dictatorship was not something we were interested in. Those bands aren't healthy and they leave folks unsatisfied and in some cases lamenting each other. We started Wild Ones with a more democratic process in mind, and I think it has matured beautifully. We have all contributed largely to this album and it represents us all. It required some strenuous ground work but now we're up and running and already cranking out the next record faster than any one person could. It's been an investment and an ideology Danielle and I had from the very beginning and I think it's created a great dynamic—one that will last.
SEE IT: Wild Ones play Mississippi Studios, 3939 N. Mississippi Ave., with Typhoon on Saturday, June 4. 9 pm. $15. 21+.