Wet Hair - The Floating World

by Joseph Majsterski Rating:8 Release Date:2017-06-16

Sometimes in life, you'll just be trudging along, your feet dragging, your spirits low, when out of nowhere a sublimely refreshing piece of aural joy pops into your ears. Such is the case with The Floating World, an extremely polished work by veteran genre-defiers Wet Hair. Perfecting their ability to blend grimy garage sounds with beautiful synthwork, taking a trip back to 60s psych via early 2000s indie, the band is at the top of their game here.

A lot of the music is both hard-charging and remarkably laid back. The pulsing guitars and pounding drums contrast nicely with the whimsical key melodies, like the band is in a hurry to go nowhere in particular. This is particularly evident on the first two tracks, 'Dear Danae' and 'Lift the Stone'. The former leans more towards psych with its tambourine and organ, and features a supremely mellow guitar/bass combo, while the latter is a bit more modern sounding, somewhere in the neighborhood of Built to Spill, with the rhythm section coming across more forcefully and strongly undergirding the twisting key melodies.

'Endless Procession' feels like a Boards of Canada track during its intro, and takes its time doing a slow build to its nougatty center, a delicious piece of moody electro alt-pop that's somewhere between Apples in Stereo and the Cure. The vocals are fed through light distortion, giving them a distant feel. And processed vocals are something that run through many of the tracks, with a lot of variety to the specific way they're modified, which helps add interesting textures.

There's more melodic twisting layered with jangly guitars in 'Black Paint', which calls to mind a lot of the stuff Beck did on his 1996 masterpiece Odelay. 'Revealed' is perhaps the most straightforward tune, with the vocals and keys spiraling around each as the soar over the rest of the song.

Things take a playful turn towards the end of the set, with 'Through the Night' bouncing along like an out of control clown car, with the drums tumbling all over themselves as the rest of the instruments go extremely staccato and pepper across the track wildly. It's almost as though the band gets exhausted and has to cool down at the end of the song too. Finally, 'Ice Cream' is a cute little outro, more of a spoken word piece with light musical accompaniment than a full song. Its sweetness is belied by the grim lyrics, however.

This is a relatively short album, clocking in at only thirty-five minutes with just seven songs, but it punches above its weight class, with plenty of memorable hooks to liven things up. Anyone interested in music situated at the crossroads of a few different musical traditions should enjoy this set.

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