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wisconsin built – drinkable

wisconsin built went on hiatus for much of 2013, allowing frontman eric charles christenson the time he needed to settle into his post-collegiate life.  the year was marked by temporary residencies in multiple towns, including a couple of stints at his parent’s place, and this pseudo-transient lifestyle led to many of the songs on drinkable, the band’s second full-length album.

just like with 2012’s rest less, christenson recorded all of drinkable in solitude, dabbling in bedroom-recording techniques that feature heavy doses of chord organ and a substantial amount of samples.  the traditional spoken-word snippets that have been tied to wisconsin built since its inception are still prominent throughout drinkable, but the new album also finds christenson experimenting with spliced samples of his own voice and other instruments, expanding the album’s rhythmic palate.

wisconsin built has always been defined by the brevity of their songs, and drinkable is no stranger to that trait.  the average track clocks in at around two minutes, but the beauty of wisconsin built’s songs is that they don’t really need to be any longer.  christenson excels at telling snippets of stories: narratives that insert the listener into a specified moment in time and show them life from his perspective.  for example, take “fuckers,” a brief song about loud kids in a park across the street, or “country mile,” a simple narrative of the walks christenson’s father takes around his neighborhood.  the simple arrangements tend to put the focus squarely on his vocals, but the washes of reverb christenson uses tend to turn his voice into the most important instrument in the song, giving listeners two very crucial aspects to pay attention to.

drinkable is bolstered by retouched versions of “church bells” and “andrew bogut,” two songs that originally appeared as demos on 2012’s maps ii, but the other nine tracks are brand new material.  the album is an impressive display of christenson’s lo-fi pop sensibility, and shows that he is just as adept at creating an interesting narrative as he is at developing an enticing soundscape.  drinkable is available now through wisconsin built’s bandcamp page at a pay-what-you-want rate.

7.8/10

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