Switched on – Baths – Pop Music / False B-Sides II (Basement’s Basement)

What’s the story?

As its name begins to imply, Pop Music / False B-Sides II is a second chance for those ideas which Will Wiesenfeld has not been able to find a home for. Until now, that is. He has been through this process once before, around the time of release of his first album as Baths, Cerulean, but here he repeats the exercise as the first release on his own new Basement’s Basement label.

The fragments Wiesenfeld has drawn together are from a wider chronological area, but the lyrics – where used – are recent.

What’s the music like?

Soft. That’s not an insult, but Wiesenfeld has a nice set of electronic colours at his disposal, creating tracks that are notable for their dappled shades, their winsome lyrical couplets and some nicely constructed rhythms.

On songs like Mikaela Corridor and Sex, Wiesenfeld sounds like a softer version of Bombay Bicycle Club, especially in the latter’s couplet ‘Is this love or is this focus’. At other times he runs closer to singer / songwriters like James Yuill in his combination of intimate productions and songs that are easy to relate to.

Immerse is a blissful beginning to the album, while Wistful (Fata Morgana) gets a nice combination of busy beats, warm textures and Wiesenfeld’s soothing vocal. Meanwhile Stomach Tile has a dreamy fusion of guitar and piano.

The most meaningful song is The Stones, a substantial piece of work with the added personal reference that Wiesenfeld’s late father loved the line ‘I still trust that men can be lovely, do what you like, but do it to me’. It is softly sung, surrounded by shimmering electronics and calming keyboards. Be That runs it close, with some beautifully layered vocals that typify the warmth of the Baths production experience.

Does it all work?

Yes. Wiesenfeld’s sound world is extremely reassuring, and on headphones the extra musical material in the middle ground brings extra layers to the songs. It is the music of a solitary mind, but looks outwards and upwards. Ultimately Wiesenfeld’s positivity shines through.

Is it recommended?

Yes – although it is not a substantial listening experience, Baths devotees will have no problem in snapping this up. Those looking for blissful late night experiences are also encouraged to follow their instincts.

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