It’s appropriate that Wild Domestic was introduced to me as a “post-jam band.” While their song moods on their five-song, 38-minute self-titled debut skew toward the dark/artsy vibe that post-rock bands have made a name of, the off-the-cuff melodies and tight instrumental interplay recall .moe. Wild Domestic tightropes the line between the two idioms incredibly well in several tunes: “Universally Known/Already Forgotten” features a brilliant guitar melody that builds into a full rock section before dropping into a jam-friendly structure, while “What Once Ran Wild” turns a gymnastic performance from the drummer (constant eighth-note toms for over four minutes) into a hypnotic foundation for yearning guitar and vocal melodies. (The band has vocalists available; they just often choose to not sing.)
When the members can keep both sides of their spectrum in full view, their sound is balanced and unique. When one side of the sound takes over, it’s at the expense of Wild Domestic’s songwriting clarity. “In a Well Lit Room” is nice, but there’s a bit too much guitar noodling and rhythm section vamping for my taste. “Cowboy Boots and Casual Suits” eschews the quick tempos and full sound that marked their first two winners for a slow-building, pensive post-rocker. The atmosphere created is quite pretty, but the track lacks the inspired momentum of their best work. Closer “Gusty Winds May Exist” is also in the latter vein, although things start to gel toward the five-minute mark of the seven-minute piece.
Wild Domestic‘s jammy post-rock vision is one that I would love to see developed more. They’ve established a sound they can build on and delivered two nuggets of excellence; that’s a job well done on a debut.