Album of the Week: Wet Don't You

On January 25, 2016

Look, I never thought that, in the year of our lord, 2016, I’d still be writing “indie band from Brooklyn self-releases EP and inspires bidding war, here’s their major label debut.” I almost can’t believe that that is still happening; I guess the wrinkle here is that Wet put their debut EP out on Bandcamp, instead of like, Matador. But here we are: the dreams of indie rock-to-major label deal are still alive.

Taking even a cursory spin through Don’t You will make it easy to see why Wet were the subject of a bidding war after their Bandcamp debut. Wet make understated, spacious R&B tinged songs of yearning, heartbreak, love, and devotion. They’re a weird amalgamation of the xx, an open field, Beach House, James Blake, and a glacier, with songs that are often more notable for the silence between the notes than the notes themselves. From the opening silence of “It’s All in Vain” through the reducing piano notes and silence of “These Days,” you could practically drive a car through the holes in this thing.

 

Written in Western Massachusetts and mostly self-produced, Don’t You doubles down on everything that made Wet a Bandcamp success story, but with some added pop flourishes. The buoyant and shiny “All the Ways” seems destined for many, many soundtrack placements, and “Body” is probably lighting up a lot of Boom Boom Spotify playlists. The standout of the EP, “Don’t Wanna Be Your Girl”—still the best breakup song that could be put under the “electronic” banner—is presented here in a more produced version, and ditto for “You’re the Best,” to both songs’ improvements.

“Weak,” a song that hits with as much impact as two snowflakes, is the strongest track here, as it finds singer Kelly Zutrau pleading with a lover to not leave, and worrying that she’s forcing them out by being weak and being too in her head. “Get me out of my head, get me out of my mind, get me out of my dreams,” she sings over a floating backing track, before saying “you are all I’ll ever need.” It’s a song that will be familiar to anyone who spends too much of their relationships living inside of their own head, while worrying their lunacy is driving away their partner.


 

The band’s showstopping performance of “Weak” on the Tonight Show should bode well for their upcoming tour behind Don’t You. The live performances add a small modicum of muscle to the band’s breeze sculptures, and Zutrau’s vocals are less tightly composed. The video also proves that Wet is maybe the most unassuming and chill major label band out right now. There’s something reassuring in the fact that a band of Brooklynites who make this kind of well composed and considered music can still get signed to major labels.

Wet’s Don’t You is out on Friday via Columbia.

 

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Andrew Winistorfer

Andrew Winistorfer is Director of Music at Vinyl Me, Please, and a writer and editor of their books, 100 Albums You Need in Your Collection and The Best Record Stores in the United States. He’s written Listening Notes for more than 30 VMP releases, co-produced multiple VMP Anthologies, and executive produced the VMP Anthologies The Story of Vanguard and The Story of Willie Nelson. He lives in Saint Paul, Minnesota.

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