I got a tip today about a band that deserves a second listen. The band is called Wetwerks and they are on the Sellaband web site. Actually, Wetwerks deserves a second, third and fourth listen. I'm actually looping "Further Than My Eyes" as I write this entry. But before I get into reviewing this excellent band from upstate New York, I want to tell you about a project that is near and dear to my heart.
U-Boat 15 is a new blog that is being written by my grandfather, Franz Strobl. When Franz died in the early seventies, I received a package from Salzburg containing a few of his personal items, among them a pile of handwritten papers containing the memoirs of his service in the submarine corps of the Austro-Hungarian Navy during WWI.
My Grandfather was nineteen as he began recording his experiences of those turbulent times. He was a prankster and the memoirs are full of the innocent humor and bravado of a typical nineteen year old. But as the war progressed, the humor and bravado gradually morphed into the dark fatalism that only war and its carnage can accomplish.
He began his service as a romantic warrior, proud to serve his country in the elite submarine service. Before the war had ended, he was a highly decorated hero...and a broken, hungry man, old beyond his years and wondering what it was all for.
I hope you have an opportunity to log onto U-Boat 15. Franz would like a word with you.
And now, back to the 21st century music world. Wetwerks has very obviously worked very hard to accomplish what I'm hearing in my headphones. The band deserves high marks for the attention to detail pervading the tracks posted on their Sellaband page. I like to listen at a fairly soft level and this is how I hear it.
First, all the instrumental virtuosity in the world cannot hide a crap song. I mean, how many guitar stores are there in the "civilized" world? And every one of them is bursting at the seams with zit-encrusted speed demons burning their licks on demo rigs at 240 beats per minute...and All of them work at burger joints! Why? Because they can't play a fucking SONG! And without a song, it's just a pile of cacophanous noise.
"Further Than My Eyes" is a SONG. And Wetwerks has hand-crafted that song to be enjoyed by a broader audience than the first listen would indicate. The rhythm section doesn't just sound good...they feel good. The track is butt-hole tight and very professionally executed.
The guitars are all steroids and hair and balls...but when you listen for the third and fourth time, you realize that you can hear details. These parts are very well thought out and great attention has been paid to dynamics. And the dynamics of the guitars in combination with the vicious accuracy of the rhythm section are the perfect frame around...
...the Vocals. The band plays and sounds very aggressive, but at no time is the vocal compromised. Not only could I hear the lyrics, I could understand every word. That sort of sonic awareness only comes with maturity, musicianship and a lot of good old hard work.
The bottom line of Bottom-End is this. Wetwerks has already done the hard part. In the proper recording environment and with an ample recording budget, Wetwerks is certain to make a big impression . A big hat's off.
So class, here is your homework:
1. Log on to U-Boat 15 and check out grandfather's blog.
2. Log on to Sellaband and listen to Wetwerks...three or four times.