|Album Review: The Wrecks — Infinitely Ordinary|
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The Wrecks set out to write their debut album almost three years ago, but it wasn't always smooth sailing. Between changing labels, rewriting new songs, and shifting their sound forward, the process became an Odyssey of reflection, growth, and self-discovery. On the eve of the album's release, frontman Nick Anderson took the time to share the story behind the album over the phone: "There's been so many roadblocks and also new opportunities that have taken us different directions and caused us to wait so long to put a record out. I'm glad we waited because I'm a lot prouder of these songs than I probably would've been if we had released something a year and a half ago just for the sake of getting something out."
The Los Angeles 4-piece set up camp in 2018 in the same barn in upstate New York where they recorded their Panic Vertigo EP. They cranked out 28 songs with the intention of putting out a double album. Only three songs from that time earned a place on their much shorter 8 track album, Infinitely Ordinary.
The first of those was "Freaking Out," a frenetic string of visceral lyrics, turbo-charged with frenetic panic. The second was "Feels So Nice," a feel-good love song that was produced with the help of Ryan Spraker. Inspired by New Order's "Bizarre Love Triangle," Anderson wanted to write something that felt uplifting and infinite, but with the raw spur-of-the-moment feel of Pulp's "Common People." Over the verses, Anderson sings in an echoey and conversational way, reminiscent of David Byrne on the verses of "Once in a Lifetime." "The vocal takes in the verses were improvised and that's what the takes are on the actual recording," shares Anderson. "It's literally me hitting record and singing the first melody and lyric that came out." The result is a perfectly nonlinear ode to coming-of-age and falling in love.
The last survivor from the barn sessions was "This Life I Have," a rambling punk-charged list of the things Anderson hates. Anderson knew right away that this song would be a full band song because he nearly broke the guitar when he was strumming it out. He sent his bandmates to the living room to watch Narcos while he demoed it out. The instrumentals are simple, but sometimes less is more, and it was easy for the rest of the bands to track their parts after bingeing TV.
Spraker also co-produced "Out Of Style," a punchy proclamation of exasperation. If Cage the Elephant and Walk the Moon meshed into one band, I'd imagine they would sound something like "Out Of Style." "Fvck Somebody" is a whole new form of frustration: being so fed up with a relationship but not wanting to be the one to mess it up. The only solution? Hope and pray that they'll cheat on you so you have a reason to leave. Anderson admits that his reflections on his teenage romance often put him in a space full of pettiness but severely lacking self awareness. "I wanted to be the butt of the joke a little bit," he explains. "I think that's something that happens when you're a teenager. You don't even realize that you're being so dumb."
"Four" is a perfect contrast to the teenage angst that runs rampant throughout the album. While the rest of Infinitely Ordinary is edgy and in your face, "Four" softens those edges and exposes vulnerability. Anderson rarely relinquishes lyrical control, but he put his lyrics in the hands of master poet Henry Brill - a big, burly, bearded man from the UK who stands over 6 feet tall but has the calming presence of a teddy bear and a voice like butter. Daniel Chae played layers and layers of violin for the track and brought it to life.
Hindsight is always 20/20. From his mid-twenties Anderson is able to look back on his teenage years with a mature understanding. He's not afraid to laugh at himself or put himself back in the teenage shoes that he outgrew years ago. Infinitely Ordinary is a perfect snapshot of the good, the bad, and the ugly moments of adolescents. It's a thrilling emotional rollercoaster that whips the listener around unexpected corners and headfirst into the products of their experimentation.