Agitated Atmosphere: Wet Hair – In Vogue Spirit

As major labels continue to exist behind the times, artists and labels with little capital and lesser reputations are producing some of the most innovative, interesting, and inspiring music. Whether it’s creating a new niche in digital technology or looking to once obsolete formats, Agitated Atmosphere hopes to pull back the curtain on a wealth of sights and sound from luminaries such as Wet Hair.

The dissolution of Iowa City avants, Raccoo-oo-oon, was a tough pill to swallow. At the forefront of the now saturated weirdo DIY rebirth, the boys from the heartland made strange noises and oddball sing-alongs that pleased a wide swatch of curious collectors. Their albums were scooped up quietly and quickly as fervor for their hi-jinks grew as quickly as their reputation.

But the amicable splintering of Raccoo-oo-oon has delivered with it equally mesmerizing and jarring experimentation. Through principle member Shawn Reed’s Night People label, his partnership with Ryan Garbes as Wet Hair has staked a new claim to adventurous music. The duo’s drums and kitchen sink mentality has ventured across the vast plain of styles and sounds, only to arrive at the infectious hybrid of psychedelia, electronic pop, and kosmische that dots their De Stijl full-length debut, In Vogue Spirit.

In Vogue Spirit often embodies the essence of Raccoo-oo-oon through Wet Hair’s matured spectrum. The entrancing rhythms and melodic combinations that dotted the work of Reed and Garbes’ past have morphed into fully realized ideas, trading in the obtusely weird for the beautifully weird. Lead single “Echo Lady,” is a kraut-pop gem, reimagining the organic dance elements of the duo’s past into a elegantly wrapped package, complete with an opulent bow. Yet In Vogue Spirit truly shines when expectations are hacked to pieces through Garbes and Reed’s effortless genre bending. Hymnal “Liquid Jesus,” begins with an Iron Butterfly-inspired blast of synthed pipe organ before easing into a spaced-out jam; once again transforming the quirky into the band’s own brand of pop magic. Talent ripens with age and In Vogue Spirit, much like Wet Hair, will continue to house unimaginable complexities as it borrows deep into your brain.

Justin Spicer is a freelance journalist whose work can be viewed at his website. He also pens Deserted for the KEXP Blog. You may follow him on Twitter.

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One Comment

  1. fernandes
    Posted January 28, 2012 at 11:48 pm | Permalink

    Feels like you’re in heaven and I’ve got those feel’in

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