Wilderness is better when the band's not trying too hard.
The Features try really hard. When the band tries a little less, as on mid-tempo rockers like "How It Starts" and "Another One", it manages to find that sweet spot where earworm-y melodies mate with thump-a-tub rock, and chugs along convincingly. When trying to be clever, however, as with the lyrically egregious "Big Mama Gonna Whip Us Good", the lyrics are so inane that they sink the whole proceedings.
Wilderness is neither all bad, nor all good. Just when the band settles into a comfortable groove and kicks out a convincing tune ("Golden Comb", "Kids") something rebounds the other way, and the listener encounters uninspired, whiny-voiced alt-rock at its dullest ("Offer Up", "Fats Domino"). Be warned: the voice is very whiny, so if that's not your thing, steer clear. This is a frustrating record overall, as it never achieves the heights it seems capable of reaching, yet isn’t bland enough to dismiss altogether.