Pick of the Week: intheraw - Wetlands
Melbourne has made a point of proclaiming winter. The iridescence of summer has gone and we are plunged into a steady grey sky and sullen downpours. This is where people begin to complain of sideways rain and the mustiness of public transport, cancelling plans that involve leaving the house in favor of instant mashed potato, a bottle of cheap shiraz and reruns of Freaks and Geeks.
I know I should be maudlin in this weather but I’m happier than I’ve been in months. Bounce out of bed, hug everyone happy. Running in the rain is awesome, it feels like an eighties romantic comedy. Ditto for cycling; when else are you going to get to pretend you’re an astronaut than soaring downhill, clad in a raincoat with a hood enveloping your head? There are few things lovelier than a snuggle with a loved one or a cat in the cold, and doonas are rad, and there are few ways to get warm that are more awesome than dancing in leggings with a pair of socks over them on a hardwood floor to something: enter Wetlands.
intheraw is all weather and it’s really sexy. I love the merge of styles and instruments in this release; wetlands are just as fascinating with a pan pipe made to sound like the introduction of a midday seventies telemovie (gentle spirit) and a Chopin-esque classical piano piece supplementing with oohing (interlude) as they are with dance-mustering synth and muted, round-sounding seventies electric guitar riffs. The lead vocalist (impossible to find information on this group! They’re mysterious as a Yeti who works for SETI) has a creamy, gorgeous voice with a perfect falsetto- it’s crush-mustering stuff.
What’s particularly terrific about intheraw is Wetlands’ unabashed embracing of what would ordinarily sound outdated or, in the case of funk, dreadful. Take track four, ‘manifesto’: the guitar and bass riffs are unashamed throwbacks to seventies funk, and the elated vocals are somewhere between Bryan Ferry and Bowie in their shameless enthusiasm. Title track intheraw is a glorious epic of funk bass (and I normally can’t stand anything that resembles funk after 1980) and clean guitar while ‘I want you in the raw’ is nearly moaned: this track whispers come-hither. And you dance there. Heaven. The lyrics are blatant but avoid being uncouth: intheraw is seductive in its confidence.
intheraw is for when you want to fizz; for a runners high, for making out in alleyways. It’s left of centre and libidinous, it’s wearing a beautifully hideous velvet jumpsuit with appliqued horses and going to a party. Get outside in this dreadful weather, dance through the streets. Or go to No Lights No Lycra and do it in a dark hall with strangers. Just dance for me.