Let’s Talk wasn’t always supposed to be a double album. William Southward, the songwriter and multi-instrumentalist behind Wasuremono, simply found himself with a surplus of songs in the pandemic’s short break. The 10-track first installment Let’s Talk, Pt. 1 already feels complete, with the band’s quirks and unique sonic touches perfect for the start of summer or an off-kilter coming-of-age film.
“Let’s Talk” opens the record, an urgent, piano-driven piece split into three acts and united by a processed clap beat. If you can decipher the lyrics within Wasuremono’s far-off, layered style that’s defined their sound, the title track serves as the opening to a discussion of love and mental health. This becomes more clear as the sound transforms from an electric indie haze to an almost gospel-like chant of “Let’s talk about love / Let’s talk about hate / Let’s talk about all the things you made.” Crafted during a time of isolation, the track begs for connection without ever sounding dreary.
Wasuremono hit their finest form by the third track in “I Feel Fine (Hallelujah),” a single that masterfully uses stark pitch shifts to strike a balance of mood that is somehow both dark and invigoratingly optimistic. Grounded by a low, brooding vocal in the verse, tiny details like a barely there, flute-like melody add depth and euphoria to the song’s lighter moments. Gone on this album is the surf-rock flavoring of 2019’s Are You OK? in favor of a fusion of chamber pop into their lo-fi, which we start to get a taste of in the ending tongue-in-cheek “hallelujah” section and continues to develop via orchestral string moments throughout the album.
Southward’s most immaculate intercorporation of organic instruments into his electro-centric sound comes on “Rain,” the album’s most gentle track. Ambient rainfall is heard against an acoustic guitar before blooming into a full, arena-sized resonance. While such a track could feel out of place on a Wasuremono record, unidentifiable textures and Southward’s classic dual-pitched vocals tie the song into the band’s signature dream pop touch before switching to “Up In Space,” a wonderfully wonky piece that feels a bit ‘80s sci-fi in its introduction.
“Feeling Like an Animal” ends the record on a high note, its bright indie pop voicing the uncontrollable itch to get outside after a long period of being isolated and unwell. Hazy, fuzzy guitars and the return of the clapping beat the album opens with make for a galvanizing jam perfect for the transition of spring into summer. It’s one of the few songs on the record that capture the same addictively hooky quality as their most popular single “Are You OK?” from 2019. Even as the singles on Let’s Talk, Pt. 1 reach for but don’t quite grasp that specific catchiness, the album as a whole is a marked step forward in Wasuremono’s sonic development. There’s plenty to look forward to with the dual album’s second half on the way; in the meantime, I’ll be blasting this one with my windows down.
Carli Scolforo is a New England journalist and intern for Paste Magazine. She loves late-night TV and reading celebrity memoirs, and never truly left her emo phase. You can follow her on Twitter @carli_sco.