July 14, 2016

EP: wilt - welt

New York's wilt is anything but what their name suggests.

To hear the word wilt is to be reminded of something soft, droopy, overripe, tubereuse, dusky pink tinged with brown. It is post-feminine, if we follow the model that aligns the feminine with flowers, gentleness, generativity. To wilt connotes a body that is somehow after the fact. The three-pronged powerhouse that is the Hudson Valley’s wilt (intentional lowercase) is anything but what their name suggests; their strong roots in pop, punk and experimental electronica build towards a bold and powerful reworking of the modern ballad.

Singer and bassist Boothe Carlson whisper-keens about the fragility of the body, evoked by both the band’s name and the EP’s title, welt, while keyboardist Emily Lyon and drummer Abbie Jones build lo-fi melodies that crescendo — blossom, if you will — into firm declarations of their being. “Strange Skin,” the first of the three tracks on welt, opens with just three notes interlacing on the keyboard, before being joined by Jones’ swift drumbeat. The recording sounds like the strange skin that's just out of reach and is slightly alien, as if it were being played live 20 years ago. Carlson’s aching refrain of “Make you break you” in the chorus blends with Lyon’s harmonies turning it into something bright like a burst of lemon. The keyboard continues its steady march: one chord, three notes, da, daa da da, daa da. The key change in the bridge comes as a ray of hope, despite the minor; it suggests that there can’t be climax without conflict. The next two tracks, “Slick and Clean” and “Spine” build on the musical theme created in “Strange Skin” but incorporate more eighties pop and noise/drone influence respectively. On “Spine,” Carlson’s vocals slur into an extension of the keyboard, something a little bit less than a howl and a little bit more than a melodic whine, trailing into the back of the track. The effect is something like if Scooby Doo had been a horror movie then this song would be on the soundtrack. The EP, tagged enigmatically as “hot-to-trot” on wilt’s bandcamp, achieves that rare crossover between mournful and danceable, corporeal and ethereal, experimental and accessible all at once. It is a record of a band with a lot of talent and even greater promise. 


Listen to wilt on bandcamp.

Melanie Mignucci is a writer and future bulldog mom. You can follow her on Twitter @melaniemignucci.