UPDATE: All 3 singles off of The Good Wives’ Debut LP are streaming below our review. Robot Island drops September 16th, with the pre-order now open. Also, stream our podcast interview with them below.
I had a very stressful Sunday, the details of which I will not bore you with, so I decided to unwind by watching the sunset in my very suburban backyard with a drink in hand. On a whim, I put on Robot Island, the forthcoming debut LP by Seattle’s The Good Wives, which I had been listening to on and off for the last month.
It was not until that moment that I understood why I had been loving this album. You see, I’ve been listening to it, but I hadn’t been listening to it—I hadn’t yet given attention to the story encapsulated within the accessible yet cerebrally stimulating guitar hooks—partly because of the laundry-list of items that had been stressing me out until this point. I pressed play and it was best decision I’ve made since getting my hands on the LP preview.
The dusk sunlight perfectly paralleled the ambiguously anxious reverb emerging from the knell of guitar feedback in the opening track Lonely Again. I then felt how this album carried the angsty complacency of my inner turmoil, instantly re-sparking my relentless pursuit of finding creative release. I imagine this is the headspace that Robot Island was created in.
For an album called Robot Island, this record is quite human and sentient. Something tells me that Robot Island is very much lead singer and songwriter Jacob Bruggman’s therapy album: the lyrics dictate how he put his blood, sweat, & tears (but most importantly his heart) into this album’s craft, and out came a passion-driven depiction of his internal monologue: somewhat biting sarcasm, somewhat gracious soul, all enticingly authentic.
Bruggman doesn’t do it alone—the sonic energy emerging from the scratchy, flowing guitars, the chill bass groove, and the perfectly refined drum support (played by Nicholas Alexander, Shane Berg, and Brent Nelson), amplify and dynamically contextualize the yearning thematic notions of the album. The record is existentially reflexive, atmospherically capturing notions of the four temperaments:sanguine in its relatable hope, choleric in its intense stream-of-consciousness release, melancholic in its introverted mindset, and phlegmatic in its defined and oddly soothing melodic thoughts.
Sonically, this album is quite layered, consisting of rock influences spanning the last half century. Robot Island amalgamates 60s garage rock revival in the vein of Twin Peaks (an apt comparison if you’re trying to pin down their genre), 70s New York punk reminiscent of Television and Blondie, early 90s underground sentimentality similar to that of fellow Washington locals Sleater-Kinney and Soundgarden, as well as contemporary coastal-alternativism a la Best Coast, Alvvays, and Seattle group Deep Sea Diver. All in all, the debut full-length is a depiction of The Good Wives’ deceptively simple, yet intricately crafted “neon-vibe” rock sound—taking inspiration from a large tradition of guitar rock soundscapes and creating fluorescently familiar solicitous rock.
I guess what I’m saying is that, if you’re in the market for a guitar-centric cathartic experience in an album that you’ll also want to put on constant replay, then Robot Island will keep you the best company. It’s a fantastic collection of cleansing songs full of edgy breakdown riffage. To The Good Wives I say, as Jake Bruggman sings on Give It a Go, “Being with you beats being alone,” and I mean that with a sincere gratitude for giving us such a captivating and stimulating return-to-rock album—especially since I personally bask in my alone time.
Robot Island drops September 16th, with pre-order now open via Bandcamp. For a limited time, you can get the album for a pay what you want price of $1 or more, with immediate digital downloads of the first 3 singles (streaming below). For more information, visit www.thegoodwives.com
Stage Presence Interview with Jake Bruggman
Singles Now Streaming
The Good Wives might feel lonely again playing in an empty venue in their debut music video for new single Lonely Again, though that does not stop them giving an epic performance. Watch the soundcheck-type video for the stellar Dinosaur Jr. reminiscent track below: