Waterplanet takes a break from traditionally engineering and recording their own material to leave room for performing and creating their unique folk fusion sound, and it pays off. I tend to stray away from folk music due to its unauthentic positivity and repetitive sound, however Millie Landrum and James Hesser make the sound their own. The duet hones in on a darker and more complex sound, utilizing different vocal patterns to complement their diverse instrumentation on their newest album Ghost-Hypnotic.
The album kicks off with “Kingmaker” a suspenseful mix of lighthearted female vocals and dark baritone male backings, along with acoustic guitar and bongos. With intentional breaks and pauses in the verses, this tension in this song left me wondering where the album was headed and where it does lead, is even more strange and eerie than this gripping introductory track.
“Pi Man” continues the anxious and dark tone with lyrics alluding to witchcraft and spiritual tones, I couldn’t help but realize some of the melodies in this song, along with the vamping use of the name “Gloria” was oddly reminiscent of Catholic church hymns. “Echoes” finally allows the listener to breathe. This is the first song that has Hesser as the lead vocalist while Landrum complements him perfectly, utilizing her voice to accompany the whispering synth lines in the background.
“Adrenaline” was one of my least favorite songs on the album; it could be the odd sounds or possibly the repetitive “Don’t Kill Yourself” lyrics, but this song didn’t hit home for me. This album has very non-traditional lyrics which don’t seem too interconnected. There is however a religious theme that does pop up in several songs. “Don’t Cry” is no exception, utilizing lyrics such as “snake oil scripture” and speaking about salvation.
“Something Somebody Said” and “Lenore” both have a similar sound, guitar heavy and almost lyrically poetic. They utilize Hesser’s baritone voice to act as an instrument throughout; these songs are pungent and strong. “Under the Rug” was likely my favorite song, melodic and relaxed; the track is catchy enough without getting repetitive. “Sea Shanty” continues the slow trend until “Racers” speeds things up a bit to end the album on a more intense note, continuing the religious theme.
Overall the album was different, and definitely showed the diversity and talent of these two musicians. Unique sounds and a folky twist on indie rock, one can tell that Waterplanet’s aim isn't to please others but to explore themselves.
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