Wilderness
Vessel States
(Jagjaguwar)
Wilderness’ self-titled debut came out last year and generated a mini-buzz in a sector of critics who love to point out “albums of the year” that no one else heard. The sophomore Vessel States continues in the same vein. Vocalist James Johnson is distinctive, a tone-deaf Robert Smith with lonesome yowls that sound like he recorded them late at night, alone, in the corner of a dark room. His one-mode delivery could grow tiresome, but it is undeniably effective. The same could be said for the songs, except the closer, an unfortunately abbreviated “Monument” which suggests the dawning of a brighter day before its abrupt termination.
—Dave Hayden

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