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Headlights: Wildlife


CD jackets are like book covers; you shouldn't use them to judge what's inside. But sometimes, breaking that rule leads to a discovery like the band Headlights and their new album Wildlife (Polyvinyl). On the outside, pastel colors, a grass and fauna backdrop, a white cursive title sprawled across green, a river in the background. Within the multi-fold case, sketches of animals, each on small white pieces of paper: an aardvark, a bear, a tiger.

And it's while listening to the tracks, whether it's "Telephones," which offers a look at the death of friends; the upbeat "Get Going" (the album's single); or the subdued piano-synth combo of "Love Song for Buddy," that another discovery comes to light: Wildlife is about oddities, like those within the world of fauna, and the music exemplifies that.

Some of the songs on Wildlife are more sloth-like creatures, managing only to underwhelm. No one song stands out more than the others, but snippets of breathy faraway vocals are unforgettable. And each of the songs on the album feels like it could be dropped effectively into an indie film, perhaps to serve as punctuation for a scene of emotional turmoil.

It's a shame that Headlights weren't more wild in their approach, but honing in on a sound will strengthen what is already a talented group.

Headlights made some headway with Wildlife, but the plumage of the multi-headed beast could use a trim.