Review: Baths Tenderly Charming Nostalgia In ‘Pop Music / False B-Sides II’

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Baths | Pop Music / False B-Sides II | Basement’s Basement

Release Date: 29 May, 2020

As creatives, it’s inevitable we’ll find ourselves stumbling upon bits and pieces of work that were, over time, not fully attended to, left unfinished or forgotten; creations that were explored, considered, loved or abandoned and, in certain scenarios – they were indeed meant to be. However, sometimes what is meant to be, doesn’t quite fit with the timing of its original conception, it doesn’t feel particularly right – but looking back years later, with a new perspective and more experience, the content and timing finds itself matching up perfectly.

For American musician Will Wiesenfeld, known under his moniker Baths (while also donning the earlier pseudonyms for his more ambient focused project Geotic, along with his 2010 cult-classic [Post-Foetus]) the release of ‘Pop Music / False B-Sides Part II‘ was sculpted and reworked from source material that has existed dating back to 2013. 

While his LP debut ‘Cerulean‘ will forever remain a classic, the first installment of Pop Music / False B-Sides, which stemmed from his sessions creating Cerulean, is a much beloved release for many, especially fans that have been following Wiesenfeld from the beginning.

So with the announcement of a remastered and re-release of the original, along with ‘Pop Music / False B-Sides Part II’ being announced as a brand new work within itself – excitement isn’t a word apt to describe fans’ hype. Despite being created from source material spanning across a few years, Wiesenfeld decided to craft something new and fresh, adding lyrics that hadn’t previously existed. As if the odds and ends tied themselves up into a new original release that was meant to be, with now being the right time.

Two of the most memorable tracks on the album are the opening and closing tracks, working effortlessly as introductions and farewells.

The opener ‘Immerse‘ shimmers with a tender harmonious love; a bright, lyrical guitar melody oscillates delicately and thoughtful, compassionate keys flow gently in companionship with the dulcet, introspective electronic beats and Wiesenfeld’s immaculate vocals.

The aura of the track gleams with a kind melancholy, sculpting an soundscape of sentimentality; the atmospheric nature of the track is honeyed with a seemingly joyful nostalgia, similar to when one finds themselves tearing up with a bittersweet happiness.

Tracks such as ‘Mikaela Corridor‘ and ‘Wistful (Fata Morgana)’ are a reminder of Baths playful and eclectic personality; this is where Wiesenfeld’s distinct take on pop music really shines through, with sprightly, upbeat synths swirling in their intricately woven candy coats -reminiscent of video game soundtracks – cradle slightly melancholic love ballads in a virtual realm, shimmering with lush electronic fantasies and vivid colours that sing in a way that is so genuinely charming in execution – not surprising to see from such a skilled and unique artist like Baths.

Pop Music / False B-Sides II‘ is the perfect follow up to its predecessor, and with impeccable production, Wiesenfeld’s always striking vocals and genuine, thoughtful lyrics – the inherently lovely nostalgia interwoven within each of these tracks really shows that this album isn’t ‘just‘ a rework of older bits and bobs of scattered content throughout the years, but a fully realised album.

Stream & Purchase Pop Music / False B-Sides II by Baths
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Rating: 7.5 / 10

Feature Image: Baths via Bandcamp (photographer credit unknown)

Review by Jenna Dreisenstock

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