Peter Arvidson’s “A New Wilderness” has a dreamy, literary bent to it. The lyrics have an impressionistic quality to them as they tell stories of lives lived to the absolute fullest. Yearning, passion, happiness, these intermingle in such gorgeous ways. While heavily steeped in an EMO tradition, Peter Arvidson draws from more than simply that singular genre, bringing synth pop, electro, dance, and indie rock into the mix. By allowing these different elements to grow organically he creates a sound that feels uniquely his own while also a bit familiar.
References abound throughout the whole of the album. Putting the listener on an epic journey, Peter Ardvison’s work at times recalls the peculiar emotional logic of the movie “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind”. Beyond that hallmark of mid 2000s cinema, sort of a nod to its theatrical flair, the album recalls moments of Elliott Smith, the Postal Service, even the Decemberists at times. Rather elegantly executed the whole of the album works together as a singular, unified whole. Going for the unexpected adds to the thrill of the album for the pieces have dramatic twists and turns, ones that truly delight.
Stylishly beginning with a backwards sample, the mood is set immediately with the urgent pop of “Stargazer”. Taking a little bit from the Strokes is the intensity of “Monochromes” with the percussion further heightening the sense of tension. The stark beauty that introduces “Stand Your Ground” never quite fades, for the simplicity of the guitar works wonders with the elegance of the synthesizer. Volume needs to be blasted on the wild ride of “Fireside” where the drums become a true force of nature crushing everything in their path. A laid-back, shaggy dog demeanor runs through the whole of “Last Saturday” as the piece has a dazed quality. By far the highlight of the album comes from the ambitious, sprawling trip of “House Guest” where Peter Arvidson taps into a soulfulness.
A softer approach takes hold over the tender “Idle Hands”. Going for something a bit more stripped down and intimate is the aptly named “A New Wilderness” which features elements of folk filtering into the mix. The gentleness continues on the soothing “Howls In The Night” with lyrics that opt for a spirit of pure poetry. Like coming into focus is the neon-hued joys of “Knock Out The Lights” recalling the best of Weezer’s Blue Album. Chaotic energy pours out of “Octopus’s Cauldron” nicely drawing from the Pixies. Ending things on a hushed note is “Painted Hills”.
With “A New Wilderness” Peter Arvidson crafts a vivid world, one that feels uniquely his own.