Album of the Week: 'The Wit' - 'A Whole Article. A Life'
So we're a couple of days late again, but we know you're used to being patient, and our Album of the Week is definitely worth waiting for. Until recently 'The Wit' were a completely new name to us, but a single called 'Dead Clones' found its way to us, and we liked what we heard so much we decided to wait for the full album before we wrote about them. I'm so glad we did, because 'A Whole Article. A Life' is the most personally appealing album I've heard this year, with a mixture of instantly engaging songs and some complex tracks that will take longer for you to get your teeth into.
I guess we should tell you more about them. They're a 5 piece Norwegian band, and they've been writing off and on for years, first releasing an album way back in 2009 (and it's still on Spotify if you want to check it out), but due to some unfortunate circumstances it wasn't possible to ever release a follow up. Interestingly the band involve members from some our favourite Nordic Music Review featured bands, such as the excellent Dråpe, Gold Celeste and the lesser known (but entertaining) 'Are You Having Fun Yet' - a fact that I only discovered after I completely fell in love with the album.
Anyway it all opens with 'Tiny Crack', and a prolonged barrage of guitar sound, before soft harmonised vocals are added - and you'll need to get used to the balance of big guitars and understated vocals, because that's how they write their songs. I like it rather a lot, and in the opening track we're also offered a long instrumental section that immediately gets my attention. However 'Apple Trees' opens acoustically, and the more melodic pop intent just makes this great fun to listen to - I'm immediately reminded of our favourite Finnish band 'The Stillwalkers', and that can only be a good thing. 'If You Ain't Got Nothing to Do (Don't Do it Here)' brings a huge simile to my face, with a glockenspiel hammering out the tune, the vocals have a 'Belle & Sebastian' feel to them, and the instrumental section from 2 minutes 16 seconds is truly a thing of wonder. 'Dead Clones' is the track that first appealed to me, I love the subtle crescendo that builds up to a rampant and driven guitar line, but then the song just brilliantly cuts to a lovely fluid melodic section, that was quite brilliantly described in the accompanying notes as ''an out of control freight train loaded with tulips... exploding into a potpourri of flowers'' - and yes I know I should think of my own words, but I can't really beat that description can I...?
But then things turn slightly darker, and maybe that's a good thing, because it really gives the album more substance. 'The Art of Indulging in Reminiscence' is so complex, and maybe appeals to me because the opening reminds me of one of my favourite 'Cardiacs' tracks (a prize for the reader who guesses which one), but it's actually the weight of sound I like, with contemplative bleaker lyrics, and the section 'I live on failure, I live to regret', also reminds me of some of 'Clearlake's' darker moments in their later albums. 'Decency' slows the pace of the album down, and the stripped back nature of the track pushes attention onto the lyrics - again thoughtful and contemplative, and maybe I missed out on that in the early part of the album, buried under the sound of guitars. The curious 'JOD' possibly needs some explaining because it takes some 4 minutes to explode into life, but I love the progressive instrumental section in the last 2 minutes. The mammoth 8 minute 'Moll' retains the energy of ealier tracks, with another quite marvellous post rock leaning instrumental section, whilst 'Bygone Era' again contrasts those understated melodic vocals with blistering guitar lines. And after the reflective 'French Fries and Diet Coke', 'Forensic' again switches between acoustic and heavier noises, and its a track that I still feel I've only just scratched the surface.
I've written way too much, but there are so many highlights in 'A Whole Article. A Life'. It opens with 4 tracks of instantly likeable Indie Rock songs, with great melodies and guitars, before it heads in a more complex, darker direction - maybe at first I was slightly taken aback by this, but it gives the album depth and more detail to enjoy over multiple listens. I just love the instrumental sections and the contrasts between darkness and light, with subtle changes in dynamics, as well as the constant barrage of catchy melodies. I have no idea how other people will react to 'The Wit', but this is now an absolute favourite of mine, and I'm just so pleased we held our nerve and waited for the full album release.
Nordic Music Review 9/10