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ATP! Album Review: Hedley - Wild Life

Wild Life, Hedley’s fifth studio album, sees the band completely shedding their punk past and transitioning into full-on radio-ready pop music. After their last album, Storms, saw a ton of success with their pop experimentation, the band seems to be looking for chart and radio domination this time around.

The album opens with the insanely catchy single “Anything,” but the awkward “uh-uh, fuck that” hook quickly gets irritating. The following, funky “Crazy For You” and “Headphones” accomplish the catchiness and redeem the annoying edge of the first song. After this opener, however, the album starts to get messy.

Overall, Wild Life seems to be trying for two completely different angles. It's low point, “I’ll Be With You,” glorifies a partying lifestyle while the song “Got Love” is an uplifting anthem. “I’ll Be With You” lets you know that he’s definitely going to be with you…as long as the cops don’t arrest him or his partying the night before doesn’t catch up. “Got Love” tells you to “keep your head up strong” and “what you give is all you get if you got love.” They seem to be just trying to please everyone instead of writing what they really want to write as far as lyrics go.

The album is at its best when they highlight front man Jacob Hoggard’s soaring vocals. Hoggard’s voice is almost like a hybrid of Marianas Trench’s Joshua Ramsey and The Summer Set’s Brian Logan Dales. It’s one heck of a voice. Album closer “All The Way” is the only song that really features Hoggard letting loose, using his whole range. His high notes reach into the stratosphere and his overall range is fantastic, but they could do so much more with it than what they do on this album.

Hedley could do quite well with their more pop-focused sound, but this album falls a little bit short. It goes from using a bunch of electronics in the earlier songs to folky whistling and handclaps on “Heaven In Our Headlights.” Wild Life sounds more like a couple of EPs or a handful of singles rather than a cohesive work, but with a bit of fine-tuning they could have something special.


Lauren Jones

Wild Life is out May 20th via Capitol Records.

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