I Like My Baths Cerulean – Album Review
I am the type of music lover that thrives on predictability, regularity, and fundamental rhythms. Due to that fact, I was almost deterred from one of the most unique, interesting albums that I have heard in a long time. Cerulean is the debut album from Baths, the creation of musician/producer Will Wiesenfeld, and I would have to say he is definitely putting his best foot forward, at least in terms of the whole album. Using looped samples and sweet beats this album will have your toes tapping and your head nodding. On a song-to-song basis, tracks are either lyrically or beat driven, and both groups have their ups and downs.
The bulk of the album has lyrics, which is always nice for people who do not enjoy music with an aurally human absence. Track two, “Lovely Bloodflow,” is the first presentation of Wiesenfeld’s haunting falsetto voice, and the repetition of the same line creates a serious potential for singing along in an equally high voice. (Just a disclaimer: I am a sucker for falsetto voices, from MIKA to The Darkness to the Bee Gees, and my review probably reflects this. Feel free to skip to the next paragraph if you disagree.) “♥” follows an instrumental interlude and offers its own beautiful piano rhythmic foundation and beat structure as well as some heartfelt words. My favorite track on the album has to be “Hall.” It leads with a very jagged setup, but when the beat becomes established, it fascinates for half the song before the lyrics even arrive. When they do, the hypnotic crooning of Wiesenfeld leads you down the hall that you do not want to stop traversing. “You’re My Excuse to Travel” immediately follows with a piano line that you never expect to become coherent, but add a clap, some drums, and lyrics and you got a dance going. Out of the final four tracks, only “Indoorsy” is worth discussing. “Rain Smell,” “Plea,” and “Departure” all seemed a little bland to me, but they are still pleasant in an ambient music/background sort of way. “Indoorsy,” on the other hand, might be the most fun track on the album. From start to finish, the combination of eccentric beats, simple tones, and distorted lyrics simply moves the listener’s body. This moving quality is also present in many of the instrumentals.
The initial track “Apologetic Shoulder Blades” honestly scared me that I would be stuck reviewing the album of some would-be-John-Cage. I found the beat a little too irregular to appreciate greatly, but thank goodness it was by no means a true indicator of what coming. “Maximalist” is the next primarily instrumental tune, and it is a much cleaner, rhythmic arrangement. It contains sound bites that are also very well placed and help to create a feeling of a “beat drop” popular in more aggressive techno music. Next, “Aminals” draws in the listener with a cute title and sound clips of children speaking, but then forcibly hypnotizes with a simple looped beat and beautiful variations on that beat. “Rafting Starlit Everglades” then takes you on what else but a serene raft ride down the everglades. It begins with bug noises, but they shortly become lost in the tide of drums rolling through the song.
Overall, Baths sounds a lot like a sort of Passion Pit/RJD2 hybrid. The album has qualities of both simplicity and intricacy. The simplicity and straightforwardness of songs makes them accessible to listeners while at the same time the intricacy creates the danceable and intriguing aspects. It is perfect for any activity from your hipster parties to napping in bed with your honey.
Rating: 6 of 10 “Olés”