Wild Wild Wets 14th Floor (Grizzly)
Since forming in 2012, Wild Wild Wets have established themselves as one of San Diego's best live bands, mixing noisy, psychedelic garage grooves with trippy, colorful visual projections for a multisensory spectacle. And though a series of singles and one-off tracks released in the last three years suggested that they have a great album in them, it's taken a while to materialize.
In truth, the band's taken its time to get it right, having recorded the album last spring and initially releasing it as an unmastered cassette for the sake of bringing merch on tour. But 14th Floor is here, and it more than lives up to the band's early promise.
While Wild Wild Wets weren't able to translate their psychedelic slideshow into the new album, the sounds it contains are sufficiently otherworldly, but also highly accessible. Swirling effects and dense layers of distortion color the eight songs, but never in such an overbearing way that the melodies underneath are obscured. There's plenty of fuzz and warm, whirring organ sounds on the title track, for instance, but it's the mesmerizing chorus that stands out.
Each track on 14th Floor finds the band exploring various facets of its psych-rock sound, making plenty of ruckus with a spread of interesting variations.
"So High" and "Crawl" have a chilling, reverb-heavy, surf-rock vibe, whereas "Floating" booms with thunderous heavy-psych tones and "UK Drugs" carries a dramatic mixture of post-punk and shoegaze, in the vein of A Place to Bury Strangers.
While just about everything is sonically, texturally stunning, the sensorial experience doesn't overshadow the small but significant details that make an even more powerful whole. Mike Turi's effects-treated vocals lend extra otherworldliness to the hypnotic opener, "Blacks Bridge."
A spooky gauze of organ turns the midnight beach party of "So High" into a haunted one. And the explosive climax that occurs three-plus minutes into "Dirty Dreams" magnificently breaks an extended sequence of finely crafted tension.
Since recording 14th Floor, Wild Wild Wets have already written an entire second album, which means it might not be long until the next one shows up. I'm fine with being patient for now, because this one was well worth the wait.