The list of influences feeding into the creative vision of Christina Willat and Andrew Wenaus is long (“folk, punk, noise, classical, electronica, bebop, avant-garde, IDM, and advertisement/film design”, for the curious). Each genre pokes out its head on Sunfloating, the debut record from the pair’s Wormwood project.
It begins with fading-in electronics that crash into noise bleets before the introduction of Willat’s incredibly wide-ranged voice, although cresting high notes are the end most prominently displayed, especially throughout the first half of the album. The first half is rather beat-oriented, pairing rhythmic clicks and swaying bass with cinematic elements like swelling harmonized backing vocals and dramatic crescendos.
The stand-out moment is certainly “Jawbone”, an ocean of white noise crashing into a delicious beat with big bass and a repetitious noise that I can’t help but to imagine as a whale giving out a rhythmic call. The quick-talking verses run counterpoint to some sustained pining. It’s an incredibly repeatable gem of a song.
After the midpoint, a minute-long bridging song that sounds like a strangely malfunctioning VHS tape, the tempos slow down and the aim switches from hip-swaying to picture-painting. Sometimes it comes across as overwrought (“Handbrushes”), but beauty is achieved in the Yeats-penned “Foggy Hips” (featuring “He Tells of a Valley Full of Lovers” as lyrics) and the hook of “Lapse”.
While the sonic pallet drawn on is rather large, the emotional core is retained throughout. Pining seems to be somewhat of a constant for the album, with a maintained sombre tone. There is some hope weaved into the sadness, though, with lyrical motifs of dreams and paradise, and dreaming about reaching that paradise.
You can find Sunfloating on Bandcamp.
Top Tracks: “Jawbone”, “Lapse”
Rating: Strong Hoot (Good)