Gently and steadily, from the the uncharted spectrum of the indie scene, dream pop has emerged as a prominent breed in today's music market, influencing pop outfits like Beach House and Twin Sister and chillwave artists like Washed Out and Neon Indian. Though attempts have been made to capture the unique essence of that familiar 80s sound, none have quite succeeded; none, that is, until Wild Nothing. On Gemini, his debut LP under the Wild Nothing moniker, one man show Jack Tatum, former singer of shoegaze outfit Jack and the Whale, exerts the dream pop genre to its fullest potential, combining elements of guitar-pop, shoegaze, and dreamy ambient pop rich in melody and inflection. Gemini is the closest to the 80's you could ever get, sounding more like The Chameleons and Donna Lewis than fellow 80's influenced ensembles Chairlift and The Pains of Being Pure at Heart. Though Gemini varies in sound, there is irrefutably a single theme Tatum conveys, one of teenage angst and lonely summer nights.
Tatum's prowess as a songwriter has blissfully matured since his Jack and the Whale days, apparent instantaneously on album opener “Live In Dreams:” “Our lips won't last forever and that's exactly why, I'd rather live in dreams and I'd rather die.” A sublime foreshadowing of good things to come, “Live In Dreams” rises as if out of oblivion, gradually yet potently, brimming with 80's electro synth and pop rock. Songs like “Our Composition Book” and “Chinatown” follow a similar pattern. “Our Composition Book's” progressive demeanour is reminiscent of dream pop outfit The Dream Academy; the use of chimes and electric guitar in teenage anthem “Chinatown” proves it to be one of the stronger, more relatable songs on the record.
“Pessimist” is the lone track on the album that pays homage to ambient, chamber artists of the 80s, completely lacking in percussion and guitar riffs. What is consistent throughout Gemini are emotionally charged lyrics and hazy, profound vocals, whether on blistering, bass illustrious tracks like “Bored Games,” “Drifter” and “Confirmation” or on florescent guitar-pop hymns “Summer Holiday” and “O Lilac.” Tatum's dedication to endearing guitar refrains, atmospheric textures, and heartfelt, meditative vocals makes Gemini one of the finest debuts the dream pop genre has witnessed; an ode to emotionally precarious 80's musicians.