Happy Halloween, OTM ghouls, and a Merry Samhain to the Pagan among us! What a fitting evening to settle in and review the alluring yet foreboding latest release from Wet Eyes!
Freezing Thoughts Creates Stability marks a fourth release this year from Ross Auger (he behind the moniker) and while one might fear a dilution of quality with such a prolific output, this album’s only fright lies within the sinister track titles and carefully crafted compositions. Again, Wet Eyes delivers a signature brand of organic post-rock ambience that manages to demonstrate continued growth even since previous release Air Is Movement (reviewed earlier this year on OTM).
In spinning this album, I am immediately struck by the cohesion of the tracks. There’s a strong thematic link between each consecutive track. More so than Air Is Movement, a clear narrative emerges. It’s difficult in this particular subgenre to avoid all comparisons to Trent Reznor, but in this case, it’s justified. Shades of the Ghosts I-IV project and Reznor’s work with Atticus Ross on The Social Network are at play here, yet nothing feels derivative.
The “played, not programmed” sensibility of Auger’s approach is still as engaging for me as a listener who is admittedly not well-versed nor generally enthralled by more ambient artists. There’s a sincerity that shines through, but also elements of classic blues and its sprawling, exploratory jams. “7 To None” is a strong example of that improvisational feel and surprises with its near-alarming white noise-esque assault mid-track; “Geoglyph” also manages a similar feat, veering into more of a modern jazz meets chillout terrain. Short but certainly not sweet “Together To The End” packs a punch in its brevity, while “The Owls Are Not What They Seem” is the reverse of the coin, preferring to quietly jar the listener from any sense of security. However, it’s the album closer “Honey, Go Downstairs” that’s the stunner on the collection, and one senses the entire album has been preparation for this climactic track. Ominous yet bright in sound, it exemplifies the best elements cast throughout the album and ultimately unites it.
If there is one criticism to be made, it’s that again, I find the vocals too soft in the mix and ultimately, I’m distracted from the instrumental side of things as I strain to fully hear. That aside, Wet Eyes has delivered another mind puzzle to unravel, further cementing his position as an artist to watch.
Highlights: Honey, Go Downstairs; Coyotes Mining; Together To The End; 7 To None; The Owls Are Not What They Seem
Final Grade: A
You can snare your own copy of Freezing Thoughts Creates Stability at the Wet Eyes bandcamp page or stream it below. Either way, play it. At least twice.