If you’re in the market for something to get sad to, then Vases is just what you’re after. The collaboration between dark electronics musician Wet Nurse. and Matt Finney is bleak, depressing, and possessed of a certain beauty. This is music for staying up late, wondering where it all went wrong and feeling powerless to do anything about it. And yet, as unappealing as that may make it sound, there’s something about Vases that makes it easy to listen to for hours at a time, sinking in to its dark, melancholy embrace.
The opening title track is the most accessible of the four, yet it’s still far from easy listening. Stuttering, glitch-style rhythms provide the basis for delicate piano and guitars that are all the more effective for their sparse nature; whilst Matt Finney’s spoken word vocals, half buried in the mix, paint a bleak picture of loneliness and guilt. It’s as harrowing as it is beautiful, and the gradual introduction and growth of noise elements in the background tells as strong a narrative as the lyrics do.
It’s with second track, ‘Glassy Eyed’, that things become much more overtly dark and anxious, and they stay that way for the duration of the record. Matt Finney has form for harrowing lyrics, but on Vases his tales move in even darker directions than before, with lyrics about drugs and sex all underpinned with a need for belonging and security, and when wedded to the tense, unsettling music of Wet Nurse., they seem all the more devastating. Both artists provide prime examples of “less is more”, with the gaps in their respective narratives – be they musical or lyrical – being every bit as important as what is actually there and visible on the surface. It culminates in the repeated cries of “What good am I?” on closer ‘(An)Aesthetic’, which sees the record out in uncomfortable style.
It may be a relatively short release, but Vases contains real depth, both emotionally and musically. It’s easy to lose yourself within its anxious, melancholy atmosphere, asking questions of yourself and finding no satisfying answers. Yet the beauty it holds is undeniable, and it’s those seemingly contradictory aspects of Vases that makes it so addictive.
Vases is available on cassette and to stream and download via Bandcamp.