Posted: October 9, 2022 in MUSIC

The fourth full-length from Wild Pink, “ILYSM” unfolds with all the fractured beauty of a dreamscape. Over the course of 12 chameleonic tracks, the New York-bred rock band build another world inhabited by ghosts and angels and aliens, inciting a strange and lovely daze as the backdrop shifts from the mundane (subdivisions, highways, hotel parking lots) to the extraordinary (deserts, battlefields, the moon). But within its vast imagination lies a potent truth-telling on the part of singer / guitarist John Ross, whose lyrics closely examine his recent struggle with cancer.

Singer and songwriter John Ross sounds reborn on “ILYSM”, Wild Pink’s follow-up to their 2021 breakout “A Billion Little Lights”. In a way, he was: Ross had already started writing the band’s fourth album when he was diagnosed with cancer, a battle that threatened to derail the LP, only to instead infuse it with urgent purpose.

Ross pushed forward through the dark alongside a community of collaborators, co-producing the record with Justin Pizzoferrato (Pixies, Body/Head, Speedy Ortiz) and Peter Silberman of The Antlers, and enlisting contributions from J Mascis (“See You Better Now”), Julien Baker (“Hold My Hand”), Ryley Walker, Yasmin Williams, Samantha Crain and Ratboys’ Julia Steiner (the title track, among others). The songs they made together vibrate with wonder, as befitting of any pursuit that comes on the heels of an existential threat.

The album is dreamy in a way that feels less like an escape and more like an adventure, as if Ross is seeing his world—and the people who populate it—through new eyes.

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