Austin-based Wild Child’s sophomore effort, The Runaround, is very hard to categorize, as is the group that made it. The band tries not to pigeonhole themselves into a single genre of music, and they instead do what they think sounds good. They are proficient at transitioning between distinctive styles, and the whole release has an easygoing, fluid quality to it. Male and female vocals are effortlessly intertwined, backing each other and harmonizing freely. Some tracks have sort of an effervescent, Hawaiian feel, and others have a more Americana character brought on by the use of banjos and jumpy pianos. There is a catchy pop element present on the record as well.

The Runaround has the ability to instill energy into the listener, as the poppy-folk charm is irresistible. On the opening title-track, the group instantly commands attention with a memorable, yet simple piano intro. Lead singer Kelsey Wilson implicitly urges the audience to dance with her upbeat attitude and her alluring voice on the song “Living Tree.” The group goes folk on “Victim To Charm” with strings and lyrics about love, fate, and heartbreak. With “Crazy Bird,” they demonstrate their versatility even more by adding whistles and brief drum solos, as well as shouted choruses and boy-girl duets.

Wild Child created a very well-executed LP, and accomplished their goal of staying out of a restrictive style of music. Even though each cut is different from the all the others in terms of style, instruments used or theme, together they form a cohesive album. The record delivered many lively, danceable songs, and furthered the band’s distinctively variable sound.

In A Word: Fluid

— Wild Child play Mercury Lounge in Manhattan on Dec. 13. —

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