Published May 07, 2019Just Who the Hell is Wild Side? Wild Side are Niagara Falls, ON born and bred; much like the streetscapes of Clifton Hill, their music is as gaudy and dazzling as it's a stark and dangerous tourist trap. The LP in question is a first, five years in the making. They've been put in front of nearly any crowd imaginable — from a tour with Power Trip to an opening slot for Insane Clown Posse — but this half-decade of work portrays Wild Side as far more focused on coining their own movement than riding the coattails of others.
Rest assured, Who the Hell is Wild Side? is well worth its lingering anticipation. Opening track "Supercharged" is Warzone for the house party circuit, followed by a ripened re-recorded cut of "No Man's Hoe" and first single "Street Action." Vocalist Brandon MacFarlane's tone is flamboyant throughout, reflective but simultaneously grave and extremely self-aware. His yelp has a certain poker face; he is pissed off and has something to say, but is seasoned with utter bliss in its delivery.
Later on, album highlight "When It's All Said & Done" confronts the comers, goers and passing trends throughout their hardcore scene. It is Wild Side at their heaviest and most fuming, with emphasis on punching NYHC riffs, dopamine-soaked guitar solos from Emmett Morris, and an outright discharge from empty, chugging flavour-of-the-week nonsense. Re-recorded takes of "Then & Now" and "All Bark, No Bite" continue Wild Side's glory streak, elevating fuzzed-out demos into their realized grooving glory.
The latter track is easily the group's strongest suit; it is provocative, exuberant and combative, like a sunny afternoon at a soda shop circa 1951 — all fun and games until leather-clad greasers take over the jukebox. "Past, Present, Future" touches on all that is golden about Who the Hell is Wild Side? — the power chords are punchy, Shane Tyrer's drums build tension and the solos builds anticipation towards the absolute madness of the record's conclusive stomp.
Like a Breakdown record produced by Bob Rock, Who the Hell is Wild Side? mingles the gritting aggression of hardcore and humility of punk rock with hefty results. Wild Side reflect on fair weather friendships, scene politics and embracing the wrong side of the tracks with fun to be had by rockers alike. (Triple B Records)