Form | In Praise Of

Westerman released his much anticipated debut album via the wonderful Partisan Records last week and it’s barely left our headphones since. He is set to play a sold out show at London’s Hoxton Hall this year and we can’t wait to hear these tracks in person. We’ve rounded up some of the critical acclaim for the record which you can hear over on the right…

“On Your Hero Is Not Dead, Will Westerman creates gentle music made up of elements from experimental pop albums. Talk Talk is an obvious influence (the hero alluded to in the album’s title refers to the band’s late vocalist Marc Hollis), but so are folk musicians like John Martyn and Joni Mitchell. Martyn’s synthesizer explorations led to his 1977 album One World, and Mitchell’s 1985 record Dog Eat Dog combined hypnotic production and lyrics in service of pop prophecies of doom. With the help of Nathan Jenkins, aka producer Bullion, Westerman achieves a synthesis of these previous experiments, fusing together whimsical curiosity and technical proficiency. Over a backdrop made of the sounds of the past, his lucid yet uncomplicated lyrics interrogate the uncertainty of the present.


“‘Your Hero Is Not Dead’ is an entrancing exploration of the psyche that considers the fallibility of being human. Amid its waterlogged guitars and metronomic drum machine beats lie gleaming acoustics and chirping synths. Vocally, comparisons to lofty folk experimentalists Arthur Russell and John Martyn are justified.

Lyrically, too, Westerman plays with juxtapositions, such as lathering a soothing balm on the chronic pain depicted in ‘Think I’ll Stay’. He loops brisk acoustics and a muted ‘80s electric guitar to carry the listener in a dreamy drift. “Turn back now, Comanche / Walk me through the blue cornered sundown”, he sings over reverb-laden rim taps. Westerman muses about environmental destruction without wallowing too much in it, opting instead to appreciate what remains of earth.”


“On ‘Your Hero Is Not Dead’, Will Westerman finds hope among the debris of despair. Here, he recognises the state that we as a people are currently in, allows us to face it, but offers lights at the same time. On the album’s lead single, the exquisite ‘Blue Comanche’, Westerman strikes a daunting tone, addressing a cyborg and willingly following in their path. “Could not relate / wasn’t to know,” he continues, commenting on the social bubbles both online and off that we so readily build for ourselves nowadays that don’t allow for a fully-realised world view to come in.

Backing these somewhat daunting lyrics and themes is a typically dreamy and cyclical instrumentation. Here, as with most of the record’s best moments – of which there are plenty – Westerman builds layers into these musical compositions that aren’t always apparent on your first or second listen, especially if you don’t have a decent set of headphones through which to experience them.”


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