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THE WILDBIRDS

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“I don’t want to play a lick unless I believe it,” says Wildbirds vocalist and rhythm guitarist Nicholas Stuart. “And when you write a song out of pure feeling, it’s the most therapeutic thing you can do.”

From the fire-alarm guitar riff that opens “421 (Everybody Loves You)”, through the droning pop-psych freakout of “It’s Alright Now” and the boogie-riffic stomp of “Someday We Can Fly Away”, to the soulful strums of the closing ballad “Suzanna,” the Wisconsin-based quartet’s debut album is bursting at the seams with energetic, exciting, heartfelt rock n’ roll. It’s the joyful noise of 21st Century boys putting their own raucous spin on the tuneful template forged by the likes of Creedence Clearwater Revival, the Band, Humble Pie, Cheap Trick and early Tom Petty. Willfully oblivious to the latest fads and trends, Golden Daze is the sort of timeless record that could have been made in 1972, 1979 or 1991, but it also packs the immediate punch of a slug of bourbon on a Saturday night. At a time when soul, emotion and personality often seem to be M.I.A. from rock n’ roll, the sheer amped-up exuberance of Golden Daze is undeniably refreshing. “We put really high standards on each other in writing and recording,” Stuart explains. “Not like, ‘I want you to write the greatest riff or the best song,’ but ‘I want you to feel something when you play that.’”

Most of the material on Golden Daze was written in the woods of northern Wisconsin, where Stuart, lead guitarist Matthew Reetz, drummer Jon Jon and original bassist Michael Belliveau (who left the band after the album’s completion, and has since been replaced by Hugh Masterson) went to escape the harassment of their hometown constabulary.

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