For his first full-length under the Junk Culture moniker (no relation to the OMD’s 1984 album), Deepak Mantena builds on the loops-and-samples model that fueled ‘09’s West Coast and ‘11’s Summer Friends (and earned him a slot opening for Girl Talk), incorporating woozy singer/songwriter indie electronic pop. It’s a tweak that seems to fit Mantena well – the synths and bleeps ‘n’ bloops are still there, but they’re now in service of Mantena’s increasingly mature lyrics: Album centerpiece “Ceremony” finds him caring for a dying loved one (“Age will fade but your body will come home… please always know that your family cares for you”), while on “Growing Pains” his future self visits to pass life lessons to his present self. Serious stuff, to be sure, but it’s not always so heavy. The jazzy title track feels like a loose-limbed Deserter’s Songs b-side and the hazy “Indian Summer” conjures up the titular notion beautifully and suggests Mantena has spent more than a few afternoons getting lost in the album cover artwork of Saturdays = Youth. An aptly titled record -– seriously, how had no one snapped this title up yet?—about both youth and morality, Wild Quiet is a confident work from a young musician who’s not afraid of growing up.
// Notes from the Road
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