by Jewly Hight
The phrase “young coed folk-pop group” has the power to strike fear of “Ho Hey” retreads in the hearts of many. And while it’s technically an accurate descriptor of Wild Child, it’s also kinda misleading. Co-fronting the Austin septet is the songwriting duo of Kelsey Wilson and Alexander Beggins, who frequently serenade each other with conversational crooning. (And no, they’re not twee She & Him imitators either.) Borne on their wispy, playful melodies are subtly gleeful jabs. It takes close listening to their new Ben Kweller-assisted album The Runaround to pick up on the wryness of their dynamic, but it’s right up front when you see them live, bantering with the salty, vaudevillian affection of a new-school George Burns and Gracie Allen. Beggins’ main ax is a baritone ukulele, and Wilson’s a violinist who grew up playing bluegrass with Sarah Jarosz and now contributes lush string passages with the help of cellist Sadie Wolfe. There are jazz and piano-pop flourishes here and there, too. It all adds up to a very welcome and pleasing surprise.
Also performing tonight at The High Watt will be Nina Diaz (of Girl in a Coma) and Holiday Mountain. The show starts at 9 p.m. and costs $12 at the door.