Three years since Wet first started gathering buzz for their melancholic synth and string stylings, the Massachusetts trio have finally put out a debut record that manages to circumvent the pitfalls of sobriety to blossom in to something that is filled with beauty and sadness in equal measure.
Unlike other first outings that are preceded by a string of buzz-garnering tracks, Don’t You folds in a few of the songs that made it on to the band’s self-titled EP which had labels jostling to sign them up in the first place. Those earlier releases that feature – re-recordings of You’re The Best and Don’t Wanna Be Your Girl – stand up staggeringly well alongside the band’s more recent material, and it’s in no small part due to Wet’s unwavering approach of partnering lead singer’s Kelly Zutrau’s emotionally dexterous vocals with Joe Valle and Marty Sulkow’s oscillating instrumentals and swelling electronics.
But as a result, the first half of the collection does suffer from a lack of any real shift in tempo and a repeated cycle of reverberating, washed-out production and heart-heavy sentiment. Previous single Deadwater serves as a welcome tonic to elevate proceedings but it’s not until the comparatively chipper All The Ways kicks in at the midpoint that the music really start to reflect the true breadth of the band’s talent.
Small and Silver sees the vulnerability and power of Zutrau’s vocals dominate as they weave through a subaquatic stream of synthplay, on Body she melds sweet harmonies and some mellifluous organic percussion, but it’s Move Me – arguably the album’s crowning moment and a razor sharp insignia for Wet’s sound – that leaves the biggest first impression with its pared-back verses giving way to a shuddering chasm of a chorus.
Even around the major-label conspiracy behind them, Wet have delivered an album with a clear statement of intent that shows a mastery of painting intimate mood soundscapes. It’s not the material on Don’t You that lets it down, but the pacing. With its biggest moments back-weighted, it takes a fair bit of wading to get to anything truly rewarding, leaving us with the feeling that a once-impish Wet have morphed into something a bit, well, dry.