Esmé Patterson has full command of every indie-rock vocal ejaculation possible. Throughout her second solo album, We Were Wild, she emits everything from enthusiastic hoots, hollers and yips to shimmering oohs and aahs, her clear, strong voice the centerpiece of an otherwise pretty standard backing band.
This is Patterson's first effort since splitting with her main project, Paper Birds, in 2014, after almost a decade together. Permanently leaving her old group, which centered on pleasant indie-pop harmonization with two other women (one of whom was her sister), seems central in creating her new solo career, as is made obvious by the opening song's chorus: "No one wants to feel/Something that don't feel right." Her newfound independence is also obvious from the album as a whole, in which you can almost sense Patterson searching through genres and characters and moods for the next thing.
Whether Patterson lands on a more punkish rock and roll sound or a more folky-country sensibility remains to be seen, but for now it's easy to enjoy this delightful, if not cohesive, collection of songs.
Esmé Patterson plays the Top Hat with Lucero Fri., Feb. 24, at 8 PM. 18+. $25/$22 advance.