Wild Heart Club Make the Best of a Bad Situation with ‘Arcade Back in Manitou’

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Recommended Tracks:  “Arcade Back in Manitou”, “Glitter on the Drum”, “Down from the Heavens”
Artists You May Like:  The Aces, The Japanese House, flor

When you go through heartbreak, sometimes the last thing you want to do is be happy.  Instead of putting on a brave face and shrugging off this miserable version of yourself, you just want to be left alone and give into the dark feelings that are brewing.  Other times, you want to find something to smile about, which is the concept behind Wild Heart Club’s debut LP, Arcade Back in Manitou.  In reference to a memory from a better time, Arcade Back in Manitou touches on the hope that exists during some of our worst moments, emitting a ray of light into a desolate space.

At the core of Wild Heart Club is Kristen Castro, who has an elegant way of making a track sound both cheerful and solemn at the same time.  We hear this on the ambient “Unhappy,” where a recurring perky riff and Kristen’s lush vocals offset the melancholy lyrics.  There is also “Glitter on the Drum,” which uses soaring guitar and soft drums to transform a story about loss into a vibrant reverie.  If there is one track on Arcade Back in Manitou that fully embodies the tone of the album, though, it would be “Rainbow,” where Kristen sings the comforting, “When your tears dry, there’s a rainbow.”  By showing us that we cannot have the good times without the bad, Kristen is encouraging us to use both to our advantage.

Kristen is known for her genre-defying sound, which we hear throughout the album.  The instrumental opening “Her, If Losing You Had a Sound” introduces us to the experimental music that occurs from track to track, giving us a meditative array of melodies.  We get an even more expressive vibe on the title track “Arcade Back in Manitou,” with percussive elements that are reminiscent of a reflective 90s alt-pop ballad.  While there are surprising riffs, as we hear on “Down from the Heavens,” or unusual layers of sound, as we hear on “Overflow, Ruled by Saturn,” everything fits in place and makes for a calm and collective listen.

It is possible that the songs are a little too cohesive, if that even makes sense.  As much as I welcome the iridescent feel of the album, there are moments when it gets predictable and safe.  After a while, some of the tracks sound interchangeable, their only distinguishable feature being the lyrics.  We might have been better off without some of these tracks in the end, just to preserve our interest from start to finish.

Overall, Arcade Back in Manitou is more than just a glistening indie pop album that deals with heartbreak and love.  It offers great inspiration to keep going when times get tough, to find the beauty in the pain.  This is definitely the album that you would want to play when other albums or songs are too much or not enough, as its simple charm and sleek production do well to comfort and guide without getting out of control.  It upholds Kristen’s tendency of being “drawn to people who aren’t in the cool club – the weirdos embracing their weirdness,” and will always be there to represent.

You can listen to Arcade Back in Manitou on platforms like Spotify, Apple Music, and SoundCloud.

Keep up with Wild Heart Club:  Instagram // Facebook // YouTube // Website

Christine Sloman
Christine Slomanhttps://linktr.ee/christine.sloman
Writer for Melodic Mag since 2018. Music lover since always.

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