The Brooklyn-based trio known as Wet first turned heads with their self-titled, four-track EP in late 2013. Through songs such as “Dreams,” “No Lie” and “You’re the Best,” Wet introduced a sound that was organically beautiful in its simplicity. With Kelly Zutrau’s enchanting vocals layered perfectly over the sparse and muted electronic background, it felt like this EP was the beginning of even greater albums to come.
Boy, what a disappointment.
Wet’s debut 11-track album, Don’t You, is the physical embodiment of 3 a.m. thoughts: lonely, ambient yet weirdly empty and unfocused. The most impactful thing this album drops is the idea that Kelly Zutrau doesn’t want to be your girl anymore (but she’s, like, super sad about it). Don’t You keeps the same unique sound Wet instituted with their EP: breathy vocals and an idiosyncratic beat, which worked in the short EP but causes the much longer Don’t You to sound repetitive and disillusioned. All the different ways Wet could have developed their music further were pushed aside somewhere between the years of 2013 and 2016, leaving Don’t You with a set of similar-sounding songs scrambling to push past superficiality.
One such song is “Body.” As the second-to-last song in the album, its slow, churning beat would be a serene way to wrap up Don’t You — if the same structure wasn’t repeated at various points earlier in the album with songs “Move Me” and “Island.” At four minutes long, “Body” is just exhausting to get through. The other songs fare no better. The constantly reiterated “call me by my real name / say my name out loud” in “Move Me” loses all meaning in its monotony, and the slow, mournful ballad “Island” weighs the album down with its heaviness. These songs, standing alone, are generally harmonious and pleasant to listen to for roughly three to four minutes; the problem arises when they’re put together in one album, as they bore the listener with unvaried tones.
However, songs like “Weak” and “Small and Silver” redeem the album from becoming a complete failure, and they show what could’ve been if Wet pushed themselves to experiment with their sound just a little bit more. In “Weak,” the structured “oh baby, baby, baby / if you’re leavin’, leavin’, leavin’ / you would only, only, only / take from me, me, me” of the chorus contrasts nicely with the more organic verses, making the song more engaging. “Small and Silver” is exactly what its title promises: delicate and innocent, yet grounded through the deep electronic bass that remains constant through the song.
The one song that has any differentiation from the rest of the album is the final song, “These Days.” Armed with only a soft piano melody in the background (an extreme divergence from the rest of the album’s heavy dependence on a glossy, computerized rhythm) Zutrau is almost naked as she croons, “today I scare so easily / these days I can’t take too much.” It’s a deeply personal and raw moment for both the band and the listeners. And it really shows how amazing Wet could be if they turned away from trying to make all songs fit a particular mold.
Don’t You finishes with “These Days,” and one can only hope that it’s as much as a salute to new beginnings as it is a conclusion. Even though Wet has mastered creating intimate songs that explode with sensuality and sensitivity, they have also mastered creating songs that explode with similarity. Through their EP, Wet had a good base to stand on while they augmented their music to explore all the different types of songs they could create, but they just didn’t take the chance. Don’t You is unfulfilling in the sense that it could have been so much more if Wet trusted themselves enough to step into unknown territory. Instead of an indistinguishable blend of homogeneity featuring breathy vocals and overly polished tempos, perhaps this new album would have been an adventure, full of spontaneous twists and turns.
But, hey, Wet is only just getting started. And “These Days” showed enough of a glimpse to be hopeful that Wet’s next album will be as good as what Don’t You could have been.