Vessel States


Very much like their debut, but borne from a much shorter gestation period — this one was written and recorded in a year’s time, while the previous record went through three years’ of work — Vessel States still feels like a breath of fresh air in a stultifying music scene. To say that the disc is dense is an understatement. Even after many spins, it’s difficult to predict the track sequence. This doesn’t mean that the album is ruled by redundancy and repetition, but that the conventional pop structure of arranging albums according to a specific flow doesn’t apply here. Take the opener “The Blood is on the Wall,” it kicks off the album on a very unsteady footing, wandering around aimlessly and reveling in its lack of place before suddenly landing on an emphatic groove that carries it through to its conclusion. Later, the band slips in “Towered,” an odd, short-lived piano/electronics piece, in the midst of the progressive guitar rock. The fractured, disorienting composition of the disc makes for a compelling listen. It’s not too often you find a band that can chug along with the icy, crystalline echo of Joy Division, duck into the shadowy ether and re-emerge into driving, angular post-punk. Wilderness’s strength is in their talent to navigate this seemingly jarring journey seamlessly. Vocalist James Johnson also remains a highlight reel unto himself. Still oblique and as centered on diction and homonym poetics as before, there’s no elucidation to be found in the lyrics to explain the post-modern miasma of the music and the final result is all the better for it.

Jagjaguwar: www.jagjaguwar.com

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