Wet: Pink Room EP Album Review

One moment Kelly Zutrau is standing with her shoulders back and chin up, and the next she’s lying on the floor, not knowing if she’ll ever get up. The 34-year-old lead singer of alt-pop trio Wet writes hopeful songs about grief and loneliness, positioning despair as an enduring but fleeting precursor to purpose. “I’m always interested in several feelings at once,” Zutrau said in a recent interview. “Not just a happy song, but happy and sad and guilty – all of that can be true.” On their new EP, Pink Room, Wet forgoes her trusted brand of synth-pop and composes her most stripped-back songs to date, often leaving Zutrau alone with a guitar as she seeks to reclaim her own. “I know these things, they come and go,” she repeats on “There’s a Light.” It looks like she’s singing a hymn, a singsong luminosity that bends even her saddest lines.

Anxiety tinged with optimism is a familiar theme for Wet. Their first two albums, those of 2016 Don’t you and 2018 Always running, were breakup recordings that candidly described the process of letting go of someone without succumbing to helplessness. Both bounced between dispassionate R&B and flat synth-pop, the music being more theoretically interesting than emotionally affecting. During the early years of their career, the band’s most compelling songs were remixes. Producers like Branchez and Jim-E Stack have turned the trio’s downtempo work into danceable pop, a welcome revelation for a band struggling to forge a compelling identity. Last year blue letter, their first project since the end of their contract with Columbia, Wet worked with producer Buddy Ross and Chaz Bear of Toro y Moi to shake up their once safe sound. The album’s best song is “Larabar,” a superb piano ballad that sounds as if it’s being played through a faulty tape deck. The song proved that the band had a great job in them, or at least the ability to make something simple feel seismic.

Like “Wednesday”, pink bedroom abandon everything that gets in the way of Zutrau’s muffled melodies. The lo-fi EP plays like a series of demos – one song, “Blades of Grass”, is actually a blue letter demo – with thin acoustic guitars, subtle synth pads and the occasional swelling of the strings, the only support for Zutrau’s vocals. There’s a light, almost lullaby quality to her delivery and rhythms that lead to moving moments. “Tell Me Why” evokes the feel of a found recording as Zutrau sings about independence in a failing relationship. On “Turn the Lights Down Low,” she uses a delicate falsetto to describe the fears of being alone and the power there is to be gained by acknowledging them: “Maybe I could be tall/Maybe I could go slow/For the rest of this road/I’ll ​​ride half empty.Here, the stripped-down production and smooth melodies suit Zutrau’s songwriting, a synthesis the EP fails to maintain.

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