Steeped in emotion without toppling over into melodrama, enchantingly playful but never cloying, Baths’ Cerulean is a surprisingly levelheaded effort from a 21-year-old artist. It helps that the man behind the pseudonym, Los Angeles-based beatmaker and songwriter Will Wiesenfeld, cut his teeth with a pair of similarly experimental acts—Cerulean is a glimmering, glitchy refinement of the sounds Wiesenfeld made helming the electronic/organic orchestra Post-Foetus and its ambient counterpart, Geotic. However, nothing credited to either boasts the percussive bounce of Cerulean standouts like “Apologetic Shoulder Blades,” “Lovely Bloodflow,” or “Plea.”
In Cerulean, Wiesenfeld has crafted a headphone record that longs to rattle trunks—even at the points where what it truly needs is a big hug. A wide-eyed lyricist given to frank observations, Wiesenfeld spends Cerulean’s second half licking fresh romantic wounds, ditching the found-sound samples of “Maximalist” and “Aminals” to sing of a disintegrating relationship in his own layered-and-looped voice. Less-experienced musicians would let their songs sink into the maudlin sentiment of lyrics like “Feels like I cannot kiss you hard enough / not even if I bore right through you,” but the diverse contents of Cerulean’s sonic toybox keep the record afloat. Everybody hurts sometimes—leave it to a heart as young as Wiesenfeld’s to temper that pain with breakbeats and slippery grooves.