Colorado alt rock legends The Wild After are back with their second EP after the release of Lessons Learned in 2014. It’s a long stretch between releases but that doesn’t mean they weren’t been busy. The Wild After is a sort of Colorado super-group comprised of members from The Heyday (featured on the cover of BandWagon issue number one in 2011, fyi), The Northern Way, Churchill, and Leash of Foxes, each having a strong presence in the local scene in their own right. The EP, Former Lives, is each of these guys doing what they do best: creating solid pop-leaning rock jams.
With vocalist Randall Kent at the helm, the sweeping folk rock melodies and pop rhythms are reminiscent of The Heyday but with, you know, like nine years of hard work and practice to hone their craft. That hard work is evident throughout, and the EP shines in terms of delivery and presentation, not to mention that Joe Richmond production polish all over it like the perfect new coat of paint. “Running Blind” and “Up in Flames” pop, making clear that they are going for something big. With a close listen you’ll find all the bells and whistles that made their independent projects so special, draped in a very tight production package.
The main hang ups here lie in the uplifted, yet somber nature of some of the songs which walk dangerously close to worship music. That’s not a bad thing, but it can be distracting from what the band is trying to communicate. The strengths of this EP are in both how everyone brings something to the table and how well executed it is overall. No one steps on anyone else’s shoes, allowing fans of any of the bands these guys have been in to find something they like. And while the final product is some finely-chiseled pop unlikely to offend anyone, it’s likely to surprise you.