Leading with enjoyably creative sound design and a handful of impressive featured artists, W.E.B’s new EP After Ever, Happily presents a conceptual and poetic, ambient journey, and speaks volumes on the upside of quarantine and what can be achieved when we’re gifted the time to be still and create.
Take It Or Leave It kicks off the new collection, feeling almost like a classic trip-hop song with a world-music-inspired edge, yet also presenting a notably unique soundscape and level of dreamlike detail – not to mention a refreshingly expressive, softly raspy and soulful vocal lead. The lyrics are interesting, again fresh and reflective of deeper issues – and this proves true of the entire project.
Falling From The Sky proves immediately eclectic in set-up, driving with retro synth-play and a mellow, tripped-up beat that’s again creatively unexpected. The ambiance continues to evolve in unpredictable ways, whilst welcoming in a rap vocal from another uniquely expressive artist.
Fast raps meet with a sci-fi-esque bass-line and a few additional layers for creative exploration, and the flow switches gears more than a few times, always remaining rhythmically engaging. The whole presentation is again partly familiar yet incredibly unusual and interesting in being so.
Smooth and breathy vocals and intimacy return for an ambient-pop-soaked When I Wake Up. “Starting fires just for the fun of it…” W.E.B sets the mood perfectly with this soundscape, creativity proving subtle yet still effective in offering something genuinely new and aptly contemplative. The song brightens up for its hook, seeing things move from good to great for a moment that satisfies and welcomes the listener to join in for this addictively melodic switch.
A detailed and cinematic yet still soothing Observations Of An Automation follows and reignites the nineties electro-ambient energy that first came through from the likes of Portishead, Morcheeba, Zero 7. A personal highlight for its haunting vocal layers and the hypnotic rise and fall of the melody – like waves softly washing over you.
Things come to a poignantly scene-setting finish with the vintage jazz vibes of a sample-led and immersive Love You. Balancing classic sound design with fragments of soul and a quickly compelling rap vocal lead – the song leaves you hanging on every bar, the beat keeps your body moving, the hook is once again catchy enough to draw you in with ease, and the concept celebrates love and unity in a decidedly fresh way. The hook is actually a little Alanis-like for me – another unexpected influence in an already eclectic project.
Great lyrical gems emerge throughout the After Ever, Happily, along with a series of tracks and performances that are consistently easy to escape into. Really nicely crafted, indicative of superb songwriting and production skills. If anything, the project feels too short – hopefully there’s more music on the way.