The Wild Young Hearts: 'California Dreams' (Album Review)

Returning with their debut album ‘California Dreams’, The Wild Young Hearts beckon listeners back to the California coast, complete with sunny reveries, valley swagger and indefatigable moxie. Picking up where their EP ‘Pretty Girls’ left off, The Wild Young Hearts present once more with passion.

Sharing with listeners a wily essence that cultivates a new sound, while paying homage to the beachy rock that dominated the smooth soundscape of the 60’s, they also manage to play with the sonic era of the 90’s. It’s this twist on the conventional sounds of the past that spawns a revolutionary orbit, unearthing a portal to the past and present.

Opening up with “Spend the Night”, a west coast 80’s vibe is quickly emitted with a sensual lyricism that is teasing. From the original EP ‘Pretty Girls’, “Sleep” is still as spunky and exuberant as it was the last time.

“Katie” is a rocking meditation on a lost relationship, a relatable prose of frustration about the eponymous ex having moved on, and pours forth with perceptive warmth. The song’s title hints at an emerging trend with a song baring the name of its subject, “Caroline” being the previous entry.

Another reprised treat from ‘Pretty Girls’, “What We Know Is Wrong” is the sociopolitical anthem that doesn’t mince words by utilizing a sarcastic approach, in a direct assault that generates a thought provoking barrage of pointed sensibility.

The titular song of the album, “California Dreams” is an west coast, rock soliloquy that notes the subtle moments that composes the course of a couple’s relationship and what happens when that time is over. The little details reflected in the emerging knowledge of a flame’s current life are captured with the lyrics, “I heard you died your hair back blond”.

Short but sweet, “Hurricane Darling” is an old school single, reminiscent of the 60’s songs that put the slow in slow dancing. There’s something so romantic about the riff that’s utilized here, it’s sweeping and imaginative. The lyrical use of hurricane is wordplay that harkens to an intense natural connection that is unavoidable between the protagonist and his paramour.

“Diamond Street” is a surf rocker’s theme song complete with auto-biographical reflections. It is a ditty filled with a cool breeze and lyrical ease. 

A melodious, rock & roll endeavor, “Somebody Else” is a break-up song that spends more time wrestling with the cause of the estrangement than anything else, a rarely tackled lyrical terrain. A female vocal performance by Geneva Pina adds a new perspective to an otherwise, solo retrospective.

Sounding distinctly theatrical, “16” is a send-up to the rejuvenating presence a “gypsy queen” can have on one’s existence. Closing out the album is the cheeky “Supermodel”, a relationship flip-off that saucily proclaims “It’s not me/it’s you” and subsequently ends the relationship with the final blow that the protagonist will be recovering with the aforementioned supermodel, a declaration of giddy revenge.

The Wild Young Hearts prove with shameless delight that they have the swagger to invite a new wave of music. Sonically delectable, they turn up the heat, when listeners need it the most. Traveling to the scenic beaches of the east coast, even if it’s for the length of 10 songs, proves to be a California dream worth drifting off to.