MusicRecord Reviews

WereWyatt: F[_]ck Depression

The new solo effort from Werewolves‘ Wyatt Strother is caught in an odd limbo, making a show of modesty that obscures its grander ambitions. Banjo and toy synths lead the charge, a tinny pocket symphony. Each song is an attempt to make a saga out of everyday life, where a 60-hour work week brings both extra cash and profound sadness, and the horrors of U.S. foreign policy intrude upon friends drinking 40s in the kitchen. 

It can get heavy-handed at times, as when Strother rails against gated communities, singing, “Teach me to give into the hubris/ To follow the greed in my heart with conviction” (on “Bad Examples”). But sanctimoniousness aside, Strother’s songwriting is solid. Though “Demon From the Past” loses points for goofy mentions of slide projectors and designated drivers, the song succeeds in maintaining its melancholy conceit throughout. The wistful “Drainage Pond” imbues teenage ennui with noble feeling and boasts a defiant line worthy of The Mountain Goats’ John Darnielle: “You’ll all be pictures in a yearbook before I’m done.”

The record’s foundations are firm; it’s just a shame that the production is sometimes scattered and that the lyrics sometimes overstep. It’s disappointing when a melody reaches for a peak that the motley instrumentation can’t quite attain, or when Strother moans about the Internet and his phone. But then there are moments, like the thrilling climax of the three-song “You Are…” suite, or the lyrical inventiveness Strother displays in singing of “some obscure benzo… ordered off of the Silk Road.” F[_]ck Depression catches Strother in between things, but there’s pleasure to be found mid-stride. 3 out of 5.

Werewolves play the downtown Transmetropolitan on Friday, Dec. 13.