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Wet Hair - "The Floating World" | Album Review

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by Myles Dunhill (@MylesDunhill)

I had heard of Wet Hair for a while now as I was already familiar with Ryan Garbes, owning a solo record of his, and Shawn Reed, having listened to their previous band, Raccoo-oo-oon quite a bit. I was definitely more than eager to listen to The Floating World, their latest full-length, and see what the two had been up to. Where it might be unfair to compare the two bands at this point, having been ten years since Raccoo-oo-oon has disbanded, I was surprised to find this nice mellow lo-fi affair of cheap-sounding synths and equal-parts late 2000’s Woodsist-era slacker garage & krautrock revival in comparison to the free-form freakiness of the previously mentioned incarnation.

Opening the album is the playful and bouncy "Dear Danae," with Wet Hair establishing in the first thirty seconds the soaring and expansive sound they’ve crafted for this record. It’s quite incredible how massive the sound is considering how homemade it feels at the same time, but as the saying goes, big things frequently come out of small packages. This brand of backyard psychedelia recalls so much of the music that has been released on the Night People imprint Shawn also runs which makes perfect sense.

The intimate production makes these jaunty tracks sound incredibly warm while also feeling very spacious and deep. It’s quite easy to imagine each member hunched over their instrument, reaching higher and higher for the transcendence achieved on thrift-store guitars and second-hand synths. The vocals are stiff, insouciant and fuzzed-out enabling them to have this cold, robotic effect which carries that way onward throughout the whole album. 

And what an extraordinarily fun and joyful sounding album they’ve created. Even in its more sorrowful moments the exuberance the band brings is downright infectious at times sounding like a less noisy and abrasive Parts & Labor, a band that shares a few similarities with Wet Hair. On the incredibly heartwarming eight-minute epic "Endless Procession," which closes out the first side of this short LP, the synths bubble and crackle and something wholly organic comes from this unit which defies the concrete boundaries in which they’re defined by and which they constantly manage to break through. 

While listening through again, I can easily imagine each track as a tiny life that Wet Hair has slowly birthed up until its gradual extinction. I can sense the process of how these songs were formed from the wild ‘jams’ in which they took their first form. While I may still need to play ‘catch-up’ with their back catalogue, it’s easy to revel in what the band has done best on this record and that truly is to ‘transcend’.