Wesley Gonzalez, Appalling Human: A review
Synth heavy, summer filled tracks have a certain melancholy tagged to them by default this year. Something feels inherently wrong about sitting on my own listening to cheery saxophones, funky backing guitars and sliding bass while I’m sat in the garden bar (shed) on an old flower-patterned chair that my grandad kindly donated us.
I should be telling guests that this is in fact a track from Wesley Gonzalez playing in the background. “You should go check him out” as I pass them a seasoned steak and a wicked cocktail. But I’m not, and nor are you, so let’s crack on like it’s normal.
Tried to Tell Me Something, the opening track, is a blast back to the idyllic early ’90s and one I’m sure is on many a ‘Summer isn’t cancelled yet’ Spotify playlists. The sound of VHS and neon remastered for 2020.
There’s a charming self-confidence in the delivery of the lyrics in Wind Your Neck In. It has strange late-night energy to it, so aware yet so vacant from the situation. You can feel this one. Play this one to that person you’re trying to impress with your music taste.
With lyrics like “I cause consequences I don’t even see” and “I don’t know what sorry means”, the album is a reflective tour of his past and moving on from all the possible outcomes running through his mind.
There’s an undeniable sound of Metronomy in here with the squashed synths paving the climbing progressions, but it’s Wesley’s vocals with the clean production that sets this record apart.
It’s Wesley’s second solo album, and any true fan of an artist will tell you that the second album can be subject to the over-production disease. But not this one, it would have been an injustice any other way.
He’s been able to grow and experiment on his sound. He mentioned that in the run up to the album he’d listen to house, funk and disco music – and all three are certainly present throughout the record. Right down to the skull expanding bass drums.
There’s a new energy here. A confident acknowledgement of himself as a whole. His vocal tracks are louder and he uses backing vocals beautifully in every song. It’s a self-realisation album, you can tell.
Each song layers with new sounds from the synths like the rapid, wispy tangent fireworks that start barraging to make way for the colossal thumping ones.
There’s a comforting nostalgia intertwined with futuristic pop throughout Appalling Human.
The final lyrics of Did You Get What You Paid For “I will die someday” leave you in a moments thought as it almost silently plays out to the sounds of a seemingly empty studio