Pop-synth sounds amplify debut album

Wet is the most interesting band you have never heard of. When I first told my mom I was going to a Wet concert, she told me to bring an umbrella. While the name might throw some people off, the group has provided a sound that was missing in the alternative pop industry. Wet describes their music as a blend of R&B and alternative pop. Their pop-synth beats and the beautiful, haunting voice of head singer Kelly Zutrau provide perfect break up music for the typical moody, angsty teen.

In addition to Zutrau, Wet comprises guitar­ist Marty Sulkow and instrumentalist Joe Valle. The band met in New York in college and while they went their separate ways for a couple of years, they knew they wanted to write music. After living and performing in small shows in Brooklyn in 2013, they began to spark attention and were signed to Columbia Records. Under Neon Gold Records, a branch of Columbia, they released their self-titled EP in 2014.

I was first exposed to Wet under a compi­lation album titled “Common Culture” put to­gether by social media star Connor Franta. The album works to promote small or unknown artists by putting them under Franta’s label and producing an album with an artist’s most notable song.

While listening to “Common Culture,” I heard the song “You’re the Best.” While I didn’t enjoy most of the compilation, this song’s haunting sound stuck with me. I immediately researched the band and found their EP. I knew from just listening to the four songs on the EP that this group would blow up.

Approximately a year later, Wet announced that they would be performing in NYC. I jumped at the chance to see one of my favorite groups and bought tickets right away. While the set was simple and it was mostly just the band on a stage, the show was amazing. Zutrau appeared nervous at first, but after the first two songs she began to smile and interact with the crowd. The set featured songs off of their EP and also new songs off of their debut album, “Don’t You.” The new songs heavily utilized instrumentals and pop-synth sounds, which I found to be even more appealing. Overall, the concert was relaxed and moving, and made me love the group even more.

After almost a year and a half wait, Wet’s de­but album, “Don’t You,” was released this Jan­uary. The 11-song tracklist includes “You’re the Best” from their EP and “Deadwater,” a single released in the time between the EP and the album. The other nine songs are new and illus­trate a more produced, synth sound that con­trasts the smaller-scale EP.

I feel as though the songs are in no partic­ular order, but each one conveys a different feeling or attitude. The first song, “It’s All in Vain,” is dramatically different from the EP. It is one of the faster songs on the album and discusses Zutrau’s idea of someone being in a room with you physically but not emotionally. She laments, “When you say you love me baby let me see your face. And when you say you’ll never leave me know that it’s all in vain. And these memories, they haunt me wherever I go.” You can feel the loneliness in Zutrau’s pleading voice as she begs for her love to be recipro­cated.

The next track, “Deadwater,” was released in the interim period between the EP and al­bum. The lyrics evoke evocative feelings and nostalgia towards her mother, who raised her as a single parent. Zutrau sings, “And my face turned to red from drinking all that deadwater. And then again when you said that I was my mother’s daughter.” Continuing through the album, “Don’t Wanna Be Your Girl” is a track that was also on the EP. It is my favorite track off of the EP, as it describes the struggle of fi­nally ending a toxic relationship.

The lead single off of the album, “Weak,” is the next prominent track. While I do not think it is the group’s best song, it garnered a lot of attention and is helping them gain traction in the alternative music industry–which could mean we’ll be seeing more from the group in the future.

While most of the album’s songs are break-up songs, “Weak” is a love song describing Zutrau’s vulnerability as she is finally in a healthy relationship and is attempting to feel comfortable. She pleads, “Baby, please don’t leave me. You are all I ever need.” I think that the song is too clingy and desperate to be a real love song, although it does illustrate Zutrau’s feelings and openness well.

Other songs on the album tend to blend to­gether under the same melodic beat and vo­cals. A standout track for me is “These Days,” which is currently my favorite on the album. It is the last song and I think it serves well as a conclusion for the debut album. It brilliantly showcases Zutrau’s voice over a piano, which is a nice change from the electronic back­ground on the rest of the album. Standout lines include, “And I know what it takes. And I think we can make it through everything. You are all I knew.”

The only problems that I find with the al­bum are the repetitive synth background in­strumentals in almost every song. While they are enjoyable, they get old about five tracks in. In addition, Zutrau has an amazing voice, but I would like to see her try something differ­ent than her typical harrowing break up song, which can be cliche and redundant. Overall, with their debut album “Don’t You,” Wet has proven to be a unique, promising group on the alternative pop scene that will only continue to confuse moms and stormwatchers everywhere.

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