Subtle in presence but still sharp as a dagger, the icy strings of an achy acoustic guitar essentially define the mood in Wilhelm’s new single “Carpet,” from his debut album Lace, which was released this past April 30th to critical acclaim. In their simplistic strum, we find shades of anxiety, depression, hope, reflectiveness, internal contemplation and a fleeting sense of romance that is echoed in the poetic verses adorning every instrumental emission. Wilhelm designs a fully-immersive, uncomplicated take on the singer/songwriter genre in “Carpet” that you just don’t find everyday in alternative music anymore, and if you’ve been in the mood for something a little different this summer, I can say that you would be hard pressed to find another track quite as intriguing and sonically unfiltered as this one is.
The harmonies between Wilhelm and his guitar, despite their minimalistic design, are unspeakably haunting from start to finish here, leaving a trail of reverberated emotions in their wake. There’s no adrenaline in the instrumental introduction, no urgency injected into our ascent towards the chorus, no cataclysmic explosion as we enter the refrain; everything is moving in slow motion in “Carpet,” and yet it never feels like we’re being dragged along in a pendulous poetry session set to some brooding music. Wilhelm wants to get all of our senses stimulated in this track, and he avoids the pedestrian techniques of a bloated, out of touch alternative pop movement in doing so. When he comes for our hearts, he uses the texture of the music exclusively, and thus rejects the very notion of compositional conventionalism here.
Wilhelm’s vocal cuts through the atonality of the lo-fi mix brilliantly, bringing to mind such experimental singer/songwriters as Howard James Kenny, Patton Thomas, Timothy Owen and Alex Dingley on the spot. He never recycles any of his forerunners’ material in Lace, but there’s no denying the influence that certain aspects of noise music have had on his work. There’s a discordant undertow to “Carpet” that we’re never able to fully escape from, and at the same time, the melodic finish that the track is given doesn’t prevent us from appreciating the grittiness of the instrumentation lying just beneath the surface. This is multilayered songcraft on overdrive, and it’s definitely reason enough to justify the buzz that this songwriter has been attracting as of late.
If “Carpet” and the whole of Lace are any indication of what we can expect to hear out of the Wilhelm camp in the years to come, then I cannot wait to get my hands on his follow-up to this spellbinding debut. Both the single and the LP that it was cut from contain so much more substance than the content that I’ve been reviewing on the mainstream side of the dial, and whether you’re a big lo-fi buff or are merely a fan of college radio-oriented folk music, this is one artist that you need to make a point of checking out before the season has expired. Wilhelm has a phenomenal skillset, and we definitely get a pretty good taste of it in this monolithic rookie release.
by Bethany Page
The music of WILHELM has been heard all over the world due to the promotional services offered by Danie Cortese Entertainment & Publicity. Learn more here – http://www.daniecorteseent.com/