Like many of the music staff here at KCRW, I was immediately taken by “And Septimus…,” the first taste from Miike Snow vocalist Andrew Wyatt’s forthcoming solo album, out April 16th. Its fully-orchestrated swinging vibe, walking bass line, chugging strings, woodwind & horn accents and Wyatt’s own swooning falsetto made for a song unlike anything else heard on the radio since the days of the Moody Blues’ late 60s orchestral pop heyday. Now, on the eve of the release of the whole album, Descender, we can see how it is just one piece of a larger sonic puzzle, with a record comprised of nine chamber pop facets of a singular musical diamond.
Teaming up with the Prague Philharmonic Orchestra, Wyatt offers a lush song-cycle full of grand statements made without fatal pretention. It is unrepentantly pop, but with the kinds of iconoclastic sweeping musical gestures reminiscent of artists like Procol Harum, Sufjan Stevens, Cardinal, David Axelrod and Lee Hazlewood. The cryptic lyrics cite Vietnam, McDonald’s, goblins, Parisian monuments and “the swimming pool sized steps of the juggernaut” (whatever those might be), but Wyatt sings with conviction and the kinds of vocal hooks that make one want to sing along regardless of comprehension (there seems to be a recurring theme of swimming though, which is further evoked by the palatial pool pictured on the cover). It’s a rich listening experience, which probably makes its short running time (under a half hour) work to its benefit, winding its way in and out of our ears before we have time to ponder deeper meanings, but still leaving satisfying echoes behind.
-Eric J. Lawrence
More info: www.andrewwyatt.net
Buy Album: http://smarturl.it/AWDescender
1. Horse Latitudes
2. Harlem Boyzz
3. Cluser Subs
4. She's Changed
5. And Septimus...
6. It Won't Let You Go
7. Descender (Death of 1000 Cuts)
8. In Paris They KNow How to Build a Monument
9. There Is a Spring
Photo by Sebastian Mlynarski