Wasuremono – Are You OK?

When I’m writing up a review for a band, I don’t like to have too much information. I like to let the music hit my ears with as few preconceptions as possible, I’ll eschew cover art and even a bands name if possible until after I’ve listened.

Why?

It’s because what we all love about music is how it makes us feel and the stories it tells us and in turn makes us tell. I want those stories to be honest and true.

The story of Wasuremono and their album ‘Are You OK?’ starts for me with a long Saturday bar shift, followed by drowning my usual sorrows with cheap cocktail pitchers and deciding to walk home in the rain (Because no bar tend can afford drinks AND transport, tip dammit people, tip) at silly o’clock in the morning with my headphones and a pack of cigarettes for company…

A quick glance at the record’s title (the one thing I’ll allow) brought a sardonic smile to my face, which moments after pushing that play button was transformed into an utterly gleeful and genuine one, and an answer to the question that title poses: I am right now.

Pouring into my ears for the next 40 or so minutes was a technicolour mish mash. A confetti cannon, glitter bomb, splatter fest of a pop record. Psychedelic music at its best; not the noodling of The Grateful Dead, or the grammar school art trappings of Pink Floyd in their overblown imperial phase, no, this is gleeful, delirious music brimming with ideas.

Nothing is off limits to these guys, from rolling drum machines mixed with distorted cymbal crashes, iceberg synths to acoustic guitar. How about gorgeous choral 4 part harmonies? Sure, stick them all over the whole thing, but best balance it with some random scream buried in the mix here and there. That’s just one song, it’s called ‘One Last Trip’… you can draw your own conclusions from that.

Ever wondered what the woozy, punch drunk hungover morning after Glam Rock would sound like? Album highlight ‘A Lesson to Learn’ answers that for you. It’s the most foot stomping track in the set, with a gruffer vocal from lead songwriter William Southward, and sans the harmonies that drench much of the rest of the album. It also has a fantastic chorus and a nagging blues riff.

Album opener and title track ‘Are You OK?’ Is another stand out, but if I had to pick one track to sum up this band, to tell its story, it would be ‘Self Help’.  It’s like those cheap cocktail pitchers I was drinking: sugary sweet, neon day glo, and a perfect pick me up after a long day in the real world. It’s good vibes chord changes, upbeat groove and simple, heart warming lyrics; “We will find you, yeah, we will work it out” goes the chorus, it can bring joy to even a rain sodden, half cut, jaded bar tend at 2 am on a Sunday morning.

Simply put, Wasuremono are a perfect cure for cynicism. Their brand of lo fi DIY Psych Pop is wondrously unironic, unafraid to be happy and brings all the warm fuzzy feelings. So go treat yourself, and find your story in it.

Are You OK? is released June 14th.

Owen Huws

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