Watter - This World - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Watter - This World

by Andy Brown Rating:6.5 Release Date:2014-06-02

Since Spiderland got the deluxe-reissue treatment last month, there’s been a lot of people talking about Slint. The band is often credited with accidently starting the post-rock genre, while Spiderland is, quite rightly, fawned over by critics and fans alike. With this resurgence of interest in mind, the presence of one-time Slint drummer Britt Walford should certainly help Watter attract some attention.

The band is something of a post-rock/prog supergroup with Walford, Grails’ Zak Riles, and multi-instrumentalist whiz-kid Tyler Trotter forming the core of the group. The album also sees contributions by King Crimson bassist Tony Levin alongside members of post-rock types Rachel’s and Mogwai favourites, The For Carnation. All this significantly raises expectations for what remains a debut release.

This World absorbs electronica, Krautrock and psych-rock influences, creating a brooding, late-night atmosphere over its 46 minute duration. To make it clear, Watter isn’t trying to sound like Slint. Whereas Spiderland’s appeal lay in its sparse minimalism, This World is a many-textured, full-sounding record. A more apt comparison lies in the cinema-influenced soundscapes of Grails and Lilacs & Champagne.

The album opens with the brooding ‘Rustic Fog’; a heady mix of electronic beats, late-night synth sounds and flourishes of Eastern-indebted guitar work. It’s an absorbing if understated opening; while not quite blowing the roof off, it still manages to grab your interest.

For me, however, the album doesn’t really take off until the 13-minute ‘Small Business’. The track starts with an almost Earth-esque exercise in controlled, meditative riff-work accompanied by atmospheric, ghostly harmonies. A few minutes in and the track erupts in a flurry of explosive guitars before dropping off into some deeply hypnotic pools of electronica and motorik beats.

It’s a dynamic and exciting piece of music and definitely the highlight of the album. Having said this, the title track's lilting, folk-indebted acoustic lament is undeniably beautiful.

As you’d expect from musicians of this calibre, This World is a solid and confidently competent record. Perhaps because of the various bands and names attached, however, the record doesn’t quite live up to the (perhaps unfair) level of expectation. The music is certainly strong, yet when put up against records by Slint and Grails (please buy 2011's Deep Politics album - its stunning) it doesn’t quite hit the same dizzy heights.

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