This is the kind of record one might expect of the Hudson Valley. Music that sucks the grime from the grind of the nearby piss-stained and crumbling Gotham streets, only to return to the soft landings of pine-needled woods and babbling brook perspectives. Songs that are intelligent but raw, introspective but reaching. Children of the Wild manages all of the above and even digs up some hope in the sadness of them thar hills—kinda like the band name itself. But these tunes are not mired in the muck of hard luck and emotion. Four in particular are destined to stick in your happy head for days, and not in an annoying way: “What We Wanted,” “No Devil Me No More,” “How Long,” and “Happy Joy.” (Well, maybe the last one will: It is hard not to have the lyrical refrain “Happy, happy! Joy, joy!” swirling circus-like in your brain without some degree of mania.)
But indie/folk/pop doesn’t get much better than this, and the rustic, anti-slick production only enhances the homebrewed flavor. The close-miked sound of leader Gary Levitt’s voice lends itself to preciousness, but he’s nuanced and sincere enough in his lyrics and delivery so as not to veer into hollow attention-seeking. Erica Quitzow’s vocals and cello and violin are the beautiful glue that binds the rest of the sounds, allowing the record to reach truly epiphanic heights. Check Setting Sun’s busy touring schedule, which takes the band to Europe this month. www.settingsun.cc.