Over the course of two albums and two EPs, the Brooklyn Based trio, Wilsen, have created a captivating and stunning brand of dream-pop, alt-pop, and dream-folk. It’s no surprise once they announced their third LP, we declared it as one of our most anticipated albums of 2020. The anticipation is over, and last week, Wilsen released Ruiner. Lead singer Tamsin Wilson has stated the album is about “meeting your various inner selves and a promise to be better.”
Right from the first track, “Ruiner”, Wilsen’s unmatched ability to leverage great heights against quiet moments is revealed, as the track features a huge storm of an intro before dissipating into just vocals and guitar. “Align” sets a scene with some wonderful guitar work. A slow build follows, and the last third of this track reaches knockout levels. “YNTOO” also starts out with some unassuming guitar, but as it builds it becomes almost overwhelming, in a good way.
It’s not just the build in individual songs, the album is structured in a way that makes each track pack an incredible punch. The run from “Birds” to “Wedding” to “Birds II” is flooring. “Birds” is just a fingerpicked track. It is not very long, but it has a jarringly abrupt build. “Wedding” immediately follows, and it is another lush, pretty track with Wilson’s voice front and center. When it dips into “Birds II”, it ties that whole part of the album together magnificently but with a loud statement.
Then there is a track like “Down”, which features an amazing drum beat and an infectious chorus. It’s got quite a groove to it as well. “Feeling Fancy” is definitely the most upbeat track on Ruiner. It has a heavy-sounding guitar, which is akin to the expansive soundscapes of Beach House and Azure Ray. It’s definitely a standout track that hits at the perfect moment as the album winds down. The record closes with the striking “Moon”, which features just guitar and Wilson’s voice.
“And all this time I waited to begin
I waited for the cue
Someone to push me in
But the moon rises and empties again.”
Ruiner is an immense album. There are quiet moments, loud moments, and moments of sadness and of joy. It’s a record that defies a lot of convention for artists they are typically compared to. When we first heard the title track, we thought they would go in a more subdued direction compared to previous work, but in reality, Ruiner is their most complete, and mature release yet.
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Check out photos from the Ruiner record release show in Brooklyn, featuring support from New York based Lightning Bug.
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