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Critical Voices: Wet, Don’t You

February 1, 2016


Columbia

Columbia

Synth indie pop has been an increasingly popular genre, and indie groups and mainstream artists alike seem to have increased R&B influences in their music. Rising music trio Wet offers a mix of both in their debut album Don’t You, released this past Friday by Columbia Records. The group formed in 2012 and has released singles and an EP, most of which are included in Don’t You’s eleven tracks.

The overarching theme of the album is breakup, expressed through singer Kelly Zutrau’s lyrics. The theme goes along well with Wet’s emerging musical style. The danger, however, is that an entire album dedicated to this can fall into monotony. Musicians Joe Valle and Marty Sulkow manage to keep Don’t You from being boring while still effectively conveying the sentiments attached to breakups. The album’s quiet, soulful tone clearly indicates heartbreak. Blends of electronic and synthpop keep it interesting and provide an edginess that mimics the sting of breakups. The hints of R&B provide the sense of sensual intimacy of relationships. The tasteful album cover (pictured) acts as a summary of this effect.

Don’t You starts off strong with “It’s All in Vain” and “Deadwater,” which were both released as singles prior to the album. Zutrau’s naturally thin voice achieves greater depth in the album’s two most moving songs. “It’s All in Vain” contrasts slower sections with a faster chorus, making for a slow base and increased drum beats to create a sense of desperation. “Deadwater” in particular seems to epitomize Wet’s style, with a backdrop of R&B-like beats, and soft and soulful piano and guitar with added synth. These seem to compliment Zutrau’s voice best, and it is by far the most harmonious song.

“All the Ways” stands out from the rest as the most fast-paced track on the album – it is also closer to the pop genre than the other songs. The quickened tempo mirrors the conflicting emotions brought on by a breakup expressed in the lyrics “I never wanna leave you/ […] but every time I see you/ I think of all the ways that this could end.”

“These Days” and “Weak,” are, rather ironically for the latter, some of the weaker tracks on the album. Though gentle, in the absence of a quickened chorus like other songs on the album, they become rather tedious. Zutrau’s thin vocals are also stretched to breaking point, bordering on being off-key.

Although occasionally sounding like one continuous, if charming, track, Don’t You is by no means a failure. “Wet” could refer to both sex and tears, and the band settles on a middle ground between sensuality and emotional agony, something which is very apparent in this first album. Don’t You contains nothing groundbreaking or extraordinary, but it is a good start for Wet and promises of even better things to come.

Voice’s Choices: “Deadwater,” “All the Ways”



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