I have always loved the utilization of nostalgic elements of contemporary bands, and synth pop outfit Wet Leather, hailing from New York, had me hooked from the start with their new EP Present Lives. Their style can be compared to some of the other acts contributing to the increasing influx of nostalgic pop/rock bands, such as Boy Pablo or Jinji Kikko. Using the classic catchy tool of syncopated guitars with fun vocal melodies, this five-track EP is a delightful and fun release by Wet Leather!
Present Lives opens with a track titled “IWMU” (not really sure what that means), which in turn begins with a rhythmic pulse of the synths, accompanied by chilled vocals to set the vibe of the track. The main defining aspect of nostalgia is highlighted in the drums, with the classic sampled snare that everyone adored in the 80’s. And the chorus melodies are so very ear-catching, they make you just want to get in your car and drive around with the windows down!
“I Was Wrong” is also a favorite of mine, utilizing starry synths and syncopations that are very dance-worthy. This track seems to focus more on the bright and fun aspect of the band’s sound, somewhat contrasting the slightly darker style of “IWMU”. There is some nice guitar solo work done here, reminiscent of the styles of the major pop/rock bands of the 90’s. These aspects working together makes me think that this music is of the kind you might have heard in a dance club in the 90’s, getting down with your friends and having a good time! Very fun and happy vibes throughout this track and EP.
“Make it True” takes a slightly different turn in Wet Leather‘s general direction to go a little darker with their sound. Or sexier. You decide! It opens with a minimal instrumental, and the verses are in minor key until they shift into relative major for the chorus to bring it back to a brighter vibe. The guitarsare drenched in that smooth reverb throughout the verses to give more of an atmosphere to the darkness established within them. Now that I think about it, yeah, it’s sexy. The minimal approach really made for a nice change in mood and vibe, showing that the band aren’t too monotonous with their approach to songwriting. I was worried that this would be the case, as far too many bands make the mistake of forgetting to diversify; however, “Make it True” confirmed that this was simply not the case for them.
Fun Callback to the Past
This EP was a delight to listen to! There seems to be a trend where bands are starting to take a rather nostalgic approach, and it’s a shame that Wet Leather are not more well-known. Present Lives is quite similar to Luke Holland’s new band The Evening, in trying to emulate the 80’s/90’s pop/rock genre. It’s not as polished production-wise, but I actually do appreciate the more raw approach. I personally look forward to the future releases these guys will put out in the future, and hopefully you will too!
Notable Tracks: “Make it True”; “I was Wrong”; “IWMU”
FFO: The Evening, Jinji Kikko, Boy Pablo