A collection of thoughtful songs that allow space for reflection and growth; Wilsen‘s latest record Ruiner is a deceptively quiet listen. Released via Dalliance Recordings, the album is soft in terms of volume, but lyrically it speaks loudly about overcoming and accepting inherent introversion, and self-doubt.
“Making this record was somewhat of a coming of age process,” guitarist & vocalist Tamsin Wilson explains. “We’re getting older and becoming more deliberate, less precious, less measured, trusting [our] instincts more.” Perhaps it’s this trust that led the band to partner with acclaimed producer Andrew Sarlo (Big Thief, Bon Iver) and mastering engineer Sarah Register (Protomartyr, U.S. Girls) on their new record.
“I can be a ruiner…” confesses Wilson on the album’s eponymous opening track. Written in a moment of “self-sabotage”, her vocals float beautifully over Johnny Simon Jr’s atmospheric, shimmering guitar sounds, belying the negativity that informed the song’s context. The gently tumultuous ‘Align’ follows, with more layered guitar and meandering lyrics about having the guts to go steady with someone.
The catchy refrain and Drew Arndt’s bass lines on ‘Down’ stick in the memory, while the gentle acoustics on ‘Wearing’ compliment Wilson’s lyrics about being worn down (“like a bag stuck in a tree / I’m helplessly clinging on”). ‘YNTOO’ flows in the same vein, before the guitars slowly swell for the final minute of the track.
The brief ‘Birds, Pt.1’ and the thoughtful, extended ‘Birds, Pt.2’ beautifully bookend each other, with the poignant ‘Wedding’ sitting in between. The infectious, full-sounding ‘Feeling Fancy’ celebrates the power of inherent shyness. As Wilson states in the song; “Everybody’s got a story”, and regardless of the volume it’s told at, it deserves to be shared and acknowledged.
The penultimate ‘Fuse’ looks forward with reassuring confidence, leaving you “ready to disco, baby”, whilst closing track ‘Moon’ is the most stripped back on the record. Tentative and delicate, it reiterates the idea that shyness and confidence can exist comfortably side-by-side.
A subtle, but powerful record that speaks to those who are trying to find the balance between being comfortable with themselves, and trying to refrain from being a Ruiner; Wilsen’s latest offering is a poetic, reverb-strewn, dreamy affair.
Photo Credit: CF Watkins