- 10 Jul 17
Irish indie kid get experimental.
“I want to see the art not the artifice,” sings talented Dubliner Karl Knuttel (trading as Bear Worship) on the opening track of this compositionally impressive debut album. While there’s no shortage of studio trickery employed over these gloriously produced nine tracks, the intelligence and integrity of his art shines throughout – nowhere more so than on earwormy first cut ‘Shimmerings’.
Knuttel has a distinctively pitched singing style that makes this alt-pop album utterly unique. The backbone of WAS’s sound is drums and bass, layered with synths, guitars, arpeggios and Beach Boys-style harmonies. At times, however, he’s a lot more Brian Eno than Brian Wilson.
Sonically, there are touches of Animal Collective, Air, Tame Impala, Deerhunter, St Vincent and, appropriately enough, Grizzly Bear. There’s even a Giorgio Moroder feel to some of the tracks. While the overall mood is one of positivity and optimism, there are moments of melancholia. On the mournfully melodic ‘Our Friends’ he sings, “I don’t belong here at all… and you are looking kind of lost.”
Ultimately, this is probably the most musically experimental and adventurous Irish album you’re likely to hear this year. As Knuttel reminds us on ‘Frequency’, “We are just vibrations/ Tones and modulations.” Thankfully, all the vibrations to be felt off WAS are good ones.