Night Wolf proves to be a master of all trades on the polyphonic bliss of “The Distraction”. Genre-hopping with incredible ease, they morph dubstep, dance, pop, folktronica, hip-hop, and rock together into a cohesive whole. These tracks teem with life, thanks to their careful curation of guest singers and rappers alongside their impeccable ear for melody. Quite psychedelic in terms of their gaze towards dreamy atmospheres, Night Wolf proves to be adept at bringing the listener into unique soundscapes ones that stun with such exquisite detail.
Influences vary wildly as do the sounds themselves. The uncanny ability to construct grooves out of seemingly disparate materials touches upon some of Four Tet’s output, specifically with their ability to deliver beats with soul. On the flip slide, some of the lush, luxurious textures incorporates James Blake’s style, particularly in regards to the more R&B-laden works. Elements of glitch and cut up techniques come into the fray giving some of the tracks a uniquely Boards of Canada hip-hop meets pop glow to them. Everything really does blend together quite nicely with each track playing off the last, nicely hiding the obviously huge amount of effort put into making them sound so carefree.
Austere piano meets elastic percussion on the stately opener of “Bleeding Out Your Love (feat. AMRA)”. Nods to modern classical give “Good For Me (feat. Elsadie)” a mystical aspect. One of the highlights of the album, “Stay Put (feat. Farisha)” reveals a true talent for form, as the buildup of the track is perfect. Ghostly vocals radiate in the background as the treatment of Farisha’s voice adds to the heightened sense of tension. Pastoral beauty graces the gorgeous electronic meets folk musings of “Easy Fall (feat. Meli, Betty + Mia)”. The physicality of “On My Mind (feat. Miriam)” goes for a heavier, physical four on the floor house vibe.
Languid beats blast through on the hopeful scope of “Music Is the Cure”. Hyperkinetic tempos that brings to mind some of Warp Record’s newer musicians dominates the anthemic “Lets Do It” where the song has a giddy, unstoppable energy. Reflective to its core “New Beginnings” neatly brings pieces of IDM and classical together into a sweeping, symphonic sound. The gauzy, surreal quality of “Neon Drive” makes it another album highlight, with the careful beat work bringing to mind some of Burial’s best EPs. Nasty, grimy raps demand that “Artificial (feat. Sub Zero)” be played at the highest possible volume, for Sub Zero’s flow is pure fire. A tenderness rests at the heart of Violette Wautier’s “Smoke (Night Wolf Remix)” bringing the album to a close.
“The Distraction” shows off Night Wolf’s undeniable charm and ability to craft their own little corner of the sonic universe.