AbsolutePunk.net
   Username
Password
 
Album Review
Hint: Follow a reviewer to be notified when they post reviews.
Baths - Ocean Death Album Cover
Author's Rating
Vocals 8.5
Musicianship 8.5
Lyrics 8.5
Production 8.5
Creativity 8.5
Lasting Value 8.5
Reviewer Tilt 8.5
Final Verdict: 85%
Member Ratings
No one has rated this album. You can be the first.
Inside AP.net

Baths - Ocean Death

Reviewed by: Ryan Dennehy (05/13/14)
Baths - Ocean Death
Release Date: May 6, 2014
Label: Anticon


Filling your record with the sounds of waves crashing against the shore is pretentious and heavy-handed, a cliche that if anything has fallen so far out of favor that it ranks among the least utilized effects in contemporary music. So knowing that Will Wiesenfeld, the mastermind behind Baths, opens Ocean Death’s title track with a brief vignette of the ocean might understandably fill a listener with trepidation. Wiesenfeld’s lyrics had been shoved to the fore of his productions on last years striking Obsidian, and with this new prominence came a commitment to more literal writing. For a brief moment, a thought flits through your mind: is this where that focus on reality becomes a burden on expression?

Thankfully that proves only a fleeting consideration, as Wiesenfeld deftly evaporates the waves in a manner that actually suggests mastery over the element itself, submitting it to his overbearing production. This is not a beach experiencing a downpour, but a cavern whose water cycle drips from the stalactites, endlessly feeding on itself. Fitting then, that Wiesenfeld’s lyrics consume and blend into one another as he repeats them on his rise to the foreground of the song. They’re a ghastly yet apparently hopeful affair, simplistically communicating a yearning for rebirth after the inevitability of death through the forces of nature. Evaporation, not erosion, is preoccupying Wiesenfeld. Maybe its this belief in the restorative power of natural processes that informs Wiesenfeld’s sirensong “to come fade to white with me” on second track “Fade White,” especially when such a call is preceded by the finality of the suns collapse in the lyrics.

Perhaps recognizing that the unhalting march of the universe to the bleak emptiness of oblivion isn’t exactly most people’s idea of a successful romantic rendevous, Wiesenfeld lightens his tone for Ocean Death’s remaining time. Calling himself a “mope” in the nearly indiscernible first line of “Voyeur” accomplishes this by virtue of “mope” being such an uncommon, yet perfectly apt descriptor for what I envisage Wiesenfeld to be after the maudlin proceedings before it. The steady guitar and drums are a departure from those songs, not entirely unwelcome but simultaneously less so than the back half of the track, which features his ethereal falsetto wafting patiently atop itself.

Spurning a former (or current) lover is nothing new to Wiesenfeld’s CV, particularly after the unabashed venom of his appearance on Ryan Hemsworth’s “Still Cold” last year. But on “Orator” he contorts it into something new amid the occasional twinkle - here he is rejecting the world out of hand. He returns the favor of alienation, choosing to insulate himself amidst in a protective shield. Production that creates an image of a figure heaving impossibly large glass slides serves the same purpose as the barriers once erected by those he addresses. Unmistakably a personal construct, Wiesenfeld’s gift is in imbuing this with the same sense of importance as that which he gives the inexorable natural forces.

Invoking that pull towards emptiness again on the concluding “Yawn,” Wiesenfeld here speaks about eons and oaks that decompose and give birth, yet are unnoticed by the wider world. This frames a hollow relationship that remains intact due solely to inertia, much as that decaying oak might remain standing despite the interior being long dead. This doesn’t tell the whole story, as a brief aside about the other’s “steady breath while reading” comes across as one of many traits that Wiesenfeld has obsessively cataloged and made note of as being uniquely theirs. Spliced with derelict snaps and creaks of ugly interjections, “Yawn” instead reads as more intriguing than merely staying in a convenient relationship. Its about the wider insignificance of it all against the whole of the universe; and yet it is vastly more important than anything else surrounding it.

More than even the title track, “Yawn” is a summation of Ocean Death’s complexities and ruminations on life. Such intricacies are communicated with an economy of language that is impressive, especially given the possibility of the imagery becoming thinly worn. Baths as a project has gradually become more forward about the emotions it is communicated, and Ocean Death might be the most powerful statement yet, because its succinctness reminds us: sometimes, its best not to dwell on such matters.

8.5/10
 
Displaying posts 1 - 10 of 10
08:33 PM on 05/13/14
#2
Drew Beringer
Senior Editor - @drewberinger - Locked Groove
Offline
User Info.
Drew Beringer's Avatar
love love love
10:06 PM on 05/13/14
#3
sargentlgfuad
Glass boy
Offline
User Info.
sargentlgfuad's Avatar
It's so amazing how much Will has grown as an artist from Cerulean to this. Really incredible stuff.
01:12 AM on 05/14/14
#4
henry chinaski
Regular Member
Offline
User Info.
henry chinaski's Avatar
Great EP.
11:02 AM on 05/14/14
#5
Colorblind!
lord top button
Offline
User Info.
Colorblind!'s Avatar
Incredible writing here, buddy.
01:41 PM on 05/14/14
#6
Quijiba
Regular Member
Offline
User Info.
No Avatar Selected
was just listening to this today, gets better with every listen
01:52 PM on 05/14/14
#7
Ryan Dennehy
______________
Online
User Info.
Ryan Dennehy's Avatar
Incredible writing here, buddy.
<3


this is probably my favorite release of 2013 at this point, which is surprising to me because i honestly figured Honest would end up in my #1 slot at the close of the year barring a kanye release (premature i know)


anyway yeah i love this
04:53 PM on 05/14/14
#8
Archael
listens to good music
Offline
User Info.
Archael's Avatar
been meaning to get this.
06:31 PM on 05/14/14
#9
Colorblind!
lord top button
Offline
User Info.
Colorblind!'s Avatar
<3


this is probably my favorite release of 2013 at this point, which is surprising to me because i honestly figured Honest would end up in my #1 slot at the close of the year barring a kanye release (premature i know)


anyway yeah i love this
not only did you write it a lovely review but you like it enough to call it your favorite record of last year!!!
07:06 PM on 05/14/14
Ryan Dennehy
______________
Online
User Info.
Ryan Dennehy's Avatar
not only did you write it a lovely review but you like it enough to call it your favorite record of last year!!!
definitely not better than jonny hops sorry willy bro my b
Options
More From This Author
Buy the Music

NEWS, MUSIC & MORE
Search News
Release Dates
Exclusives
Best New Music
Articles
CONNECT
Submit News
Forums
Contests
Mobile Version
AP.net Logos
HIDDEN TREASURES
AbsolutePunk Podcast
Free Music
Sports Forum
Technology Forum
Recommendations
INFORMATION
Advertising
Contact Us
Copyright Policy
Terms of Service
Privacy Policy
FOLLOW
Twitter | Facebook | RSS
PropertyOfZack
PunkNews.org
UnderTheGun
Chorus.fm