Today I came across Places Worn, a LP by the relatively unknown LUWUM, which is the solo recording project of Seattle based musician Jesse W Miller. Rarely does an artist have such an impact on me from the very first listen, but within 15 seconds of hearing his song ‘Stumbling’, I knew I’d stumbled (see what I did there, eh) across someone special. Miller’s reverb soaked vocals and lo-fi guitar tones create this, tired, hazy and spacious sonic world, which is occasionally broken up by a more hectic, fuzzy and chaotic sound (as heard on album opener ‘The Band’ or ‘Bushwhacking’). However it isn't just the way Miller sounds that make this album stand out for me. It’s the song writing that steals the show, no this isn’t an album of number one hit songs, it’s a collection of songs that don’t take the obvious path. A lot of music these days is predictable, and predictability isn't a bad thing at all, but Miller’s choice of melody creates songs where the listener can’t always predict the next note, everything Miller does feels unique, no single second on this album feels monotonous or repetitive, everything feels alive and organic. It’s a living and breathing piece of work.
There’s a charm to this record as well, it feels like it could all fall to pieces at any given second, which isn't a negative thing at all. It makes the album feel wonderfully warm and human, when so much music in this age feels cold and digital. The vocals aren't pitch perfect, the instrumentation can be occasionally sloppy, but honestly, who cares. This record is suppose to evoke an emotional response, It is not intended to be a display of technical brilliance. What Miller has created here is one of the most humble and beautiful records I’ve heard this year. If this had been recorded by some big shot producer at a world class recording studio, It would've lost a lot of its charm and appeal. Songs like Naked In The Wave Pool and Weird Flash wouldn’t be as moving if they were ‘perfect’ technical recordings. It is it’s imperfections, that make this record feel relatable and special. It is its imperfections that give this record character.
Go and support LUWUM by buying Places Worn here.
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