ALBUM RATING: 4/5
I’ve been fascinated with the freakishly obscure since I was a little kid. For as long as I can remember, the dark and mysterious intrigued me, while the sugar-coated nothingness of most popular media failed to stimulate my senses in the slightest. This concrete opinion of mine has led to many unnecessary arguments over the years, which is why I now state my viewpoints hidden behind a computer screen. I can’t help it if I find deeper meaning in cultural mediums that were influenced by pain and despair rather than unintellectual euphoria.
If you consider yourself to be sailing through life in a similar vessel, you’ll most likely enjoy the debut solo effort of former Let’s Wrestle frontman Wesley Gonzalez. Released on June 30th (yeah I’m like a week late on this, get over it) Excellent Musician is a beautifully crafted album that gives listeners an inside look into the musical mind of a virtually unknown talent.
From the introductory moments of opening track “An Adult” to the closing notes of “Quarantined River”, Gonzalez plays with the minds of listeners through seemingly upbeat, yet hauntingly grandiose pop-rock compositions that are complimented by some of the strangest lyrics you’ve probably heard this year. Take this happy-go-lucky line from the song “I Spoke To Euan” for instance:
“When I tried to go to sleep/Three hours would pass until I wake myself up to cry my eyes out again/But I know I still need love somehow”.
Or what about the opening lines of the fantastically emotional “I’m Still Working On It”?
“It’s not your fault that I am hurting, but there’s no guarantee that I’m fine/You’ve just seen my outsides”.
This guy sounds like a psychiatrist’s wet dream…
The entire album is filled with strangely introspective thoughts such as these, paired with melodies that are reminiscent of a Brian Eno or David Byrne B-side. However, no other song on the album compares to the raw effort that is “Not That Kind Of Guy”.
The song opens with a welcoming piano lick before being bombarded by heavy cymbals and bass lines. It also sees Wesley’s vocals reflecting the preaching of an energetic cult leader rather than an indie-rock singer. Trust me, those who are not initially won over during the song’s opening moments will surely fall victim to the infectious nature of the chorus.
If you only listen to one song on this album, make it this one.
Gonzalez’s sound will definitely be an acquired taste for some, however, I strongly suggest giving it a fair chance. Even if you end up hating it, you’ll surely appreciate the overall obscurity of this pale, pudgy-faced man. Sure, he may not possess the Hollywood good-looks of most modern superstars, but his musical adroitness is undeniable.
And what the f**k does a man’s look have to do with his musical ability anyway?