Wet treads cliched, familiar ground on debut album

Columbia Records/Courtesy

There’s something about dream pop that never fails to make us feel so poignantly nostalgic. In Wet’s debut album, Don’t You, the Brooklyn-based band brings back those sentimental feelings without hesitation.

Wet comprises three members, Joe Valle, Marty Sulkow and Kelly Zutrau, the latter of whom takes the lead as its lead singer and songwriter. Over the last couple of years, with its unique electronic, pop and R&B-influenced sound, the band has gained quite a bit of traction in the alternative pop world.

The album begins with a previously released single “It’s All In Vain.” The song pulls the listener right in with Zutrau’s haunting voice, sonically independent until an easy drum line and simple synth phrase join her. Unlike typical pop songs, Wet’s work wavers somewhere between the upbeat and overly relaxed. Quite effortlessly, the band weaves together the two to arrive at its own sound somewhere at its intersection.

The first three tracks of the album — ”It’s All In Vain,” “Deadwater” and “Don’t Want To Be Your Girl” — are arguably the most compelling tunes of the album. Here, Zutrau’s lilting melody, tinged with the slightest bit of emotional call, shines through to listeners. Her flexible voice and dreamy lyrics are captivating.

Occasionally, Wet stumbles into overused tropes and cliches. In “Weak,” for example, Zutrau sings, “Baby, please don’t leave me,” falling prey to the typical lyrics of a radio pop song.

Yet, when Valle and Sulkow’s supporting production plays more of an equal role beside Zutrau’s vocals, the beauty of their work is incontrovertible. In “Islands,” the trio’s interplay between vocals and production brings us to a perfect harmony. The album does stray from its typical slow pace from time to time in “Body” and “Move Me,” songs that, like their titles, are evocative of a physical response. In contrast, the album closes on a soft note with “These Days,” as Zutrau sings wistfully, “I know we can make it through everything.”

Ultimately, “Don’t You” is a worthwhile listen from beginning to end. The album is a great debut release, one that shines with Wet’s characteristic sound. Despite its occasional cliches, “Don’t You” is full of potential in almost every track. It stands as a meaningful opening into the group’s future work. After a little more growth away from the world of cliched pop, it will be exciting to see just what Wet is developing.

Contact Eda Yu at[email protected].