Wilsen are the Brooklyn-based project of Tamsin Wilson (guitar/vocals), Johnny Simon Jr. (guitar), and Drew Arndt (bass). Ruiner is their second album, and follows 2017’s “I Go Missing In My Sleep“, of which the track “Centipede” has been a favourite on my playlists for quite a while now. It’s as if, in Wilsen, I find a harmony that I don’t find so much in similar acts like Big Thief, Wye Oaks and Grouper. There is refined balance between dreamy, introspective and subtle psychedelic influences that is never oppressive, too depressing or disturbing. Not too dark, not too light. Never too obscure for me to lose interest and never too formulaic to think they’re hooking into a trend.
Ruiner was produced by Andrew Sarlo (Bon Iver, Big Thief, SASAMI), and is a bit less ethereal than its forerunner, and slighty more substantial, letting the band’s essentials – drums, bass, guitar, and vocals – take the stage center. Tamsin Wilson says: “Making this record was somewhat of a coming-of-age process. We’re getting older and becoming more deliberate, less precious, less measured. Overthinking less and trusting instincts more.”
Highlights of Ruiner are the midtempo, laidback bliss of “Align“; the dreamy, yet unpredictably timed “Down“; “Wearing“, a trippy, cinematic enigma and “Yntoo” which starts off sounding almost like an uptempo “Centipede” but which opens up gradually like a kaleidoscopic flower; “Birds II“ which centres around a circling guitar-line but gradually takes us into evolving and revolving dimensions and heavenly sounds, and on “Feeling Fancy ” Wilson seems to come to terms with the many sides to her Self (her introversion/inner monster) declaring “Quiet’s not a fault to weed out”. This album certainly proves that, and is probably one of the best we will hear in the genre this year.