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Wassailer I, THE BASTARD

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Wassailer I, THE BASTARD. Because Music

Review

I have a confession to make: Occasionally I will discard a record after hearing the first few tracks. Now most of the time I’m probably correct to but on the odd occasion I’m very wrong. On this occasion I almost switched off but circumstances dictated that the record played on. I’m glad it did. This particular record held a few pleasant surprises…

It opens with a drunken rant that sounds pretty real to me. It’s called ‘Foreplay’ and rather appropriately introduces the following song lyrics. As the rant metamorphosis into more a conventional, albeit highly distinctive, song Wassailer explains the reason for the opening rant through a description of failed seduction. It’s a jittery, thoughtful vibe with strong percussive sounds and wailing background vocals. It’s a more than interesting start.

Flute introduces ‘Trad’ and continues relentlessly through most of the track that also includes swooning backing vocals and a strong melody. In this rather homogeneous song market, this is very different and very good. ‘Miss Trolley’ is dominated by a Latin beat as it travels along at medium pace underpinned by another strong melody and a hint of jazz in the sound, and a strong percussive rhythm. ‘Domestic Dogs Barking’ is a comedic quasi-rap track while ‘Son’ stretches the musical adventure stakes but with punctuating spells of jazz ballad. Very different, highly compelling.

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‘Ghost’ is as pure jazz vocal and instrumental as you can get. It crawls along with wonderful brass moments and a vocal that’s tailor-made for the job. As before, melody is strong and production brings out the best of the song. ‘Three Dots In A Bubble’ follows in darker, bass-driven style with a driving rhythm and a clear, expressive vocal that repeats “I am so bored” several times. The jazz vibe is strong as is the song’s melody. ‘Settlement’ has a powerful dance beat and a jazz funk flavour. ‘242′ has a distinctively emotional underbelly: “these empty streets are driving me nuts…looking for someone who could love me/someone to replace you/someone to support/someone who could take me to somewhere I could break through/someone who could help me sleep/somewhere I don’t have to be someone else…” It’s a intimate and very moving song. ‘Song For Elsa’ concludes this very interesting record on another moving note with the piano-backed, glacially-paced and highly melodic ballad. The vocal is totally convincing as the singer gently contemplates close relationships as he repeats lyrics from ‘Ghost’ after the middle-eight. It’s utterly beautiful.

Wassailer offers something new and different while adhering to high levels of quality in every branch of his art. But his biggest achievement is while following his adventurous instincts he has created a record that is totally accessible and worthy of broadcast coverage. One of my albums of the year so far.

4.5/5

Tracklist

1. Foreplay
2. Trad
3. Miss Trolleys
4. Domestic Dogs Barking
5. Son
6. Ghosts
7. Going to the Club
8. Three Dots in a Bubble
9. Settlement
10. 242
11. Song for Elsa

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCtkpYmsfBK3j7kVsqYKHU7w

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Biography

After immersing himself in UK culture for almost a decade, the Lewisham based singer-songwriter joins the new generation of artists influenced as much by South East London’s Afro, Jazz and hip Hop scene as by alt pop. Weaving his own style with boisterous yet thought-provoking and poetic lyrics, the songs land somewhere between melodic slow jams and upbeat dancefloor fillers, touching neo-soul and even the storytelling aspects of folk (without being beholden to any of them) in an emotionally haunting concoction.

Arriving in East London in 2011, Will, the artist behind Wassailer, spent his first years in the UK touring extensively with his former band, headlining in the UK, Europe, the Far East and North America, as well as supporting acts such as Michael Kiwanuka, Anna Calvi, Metronomy, Villagers to name a few.

Deriving from wassail (/ˈwɒsəl/, /-eɪl/;) this namesake accurately encapsulates the soul of Wassailer’s urban folk forthcoming debut. This album will have you invested in the hunt towards the understanding of human beings’ contradictions, lack of empathy and social paradoxes.

https://wassailer.bandcamp.com/music
https://www.instagram.com/wassailerfm/
https://www.facebook.com/wassailerfm


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