Wet Is RnB Stripped Bare

Last Tuesday evening, The 5 to 9 Life was invited to two events in two Sydney venues across town from each other! Whilst at times I wish I could be in two places at once, I knew that it was an impossible task so we sent our writer Claire Benito to the Dew Process Label Party to review an incredible line-up of acts at the Oxford Art Factory. Photography by Luke Latty.

Dew Process Label Party - Wet

When I first listened to Wet’s ‘Don’t Wanna Be Your Girl’, I had to do a musical double take. It’s the kind of band where at first listen you think: “Yes, go on”, and then soon after; “Who is this?” and start looking up the rest of their songs.

The Brooklyn-based trio – Kelly Zutrau, Joe Valle and Marty Sulkow – were in Sydney last week at the Dew Process Label Party alongside Eves the Behavior, TKay Maidza and Until the Ribbon Breaks at the Oxford Arts Factory.

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Dew Process Label Party - Wet_3

After only having released a four-song EP, Wet have already been compared to the likes of Solange and The xx for their fresh take on RnB and the way their songs are stripped back to emphasise the most beautiful parts. Kelly admits quite openly that most of the songs on the EP make specific reference to her experiences with a break-up, and it’s that kind of rawness and honesty in the music that seems to be luring the fans in.

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On stage, Kelly is a shy but serious performer. Her vocals are expertly controlled at such a high register which reminded me a lot of old school Aaliyah songs (for lovers of 90s RnB, there is no greater compliment). In the background, bandmates Joe and Marty know exactly how to compliment Kelly’s sweet vocals. Their dreamy, bare-bones mix of trip hop and electronic undertones make for an almost hypnotic soundtrack that grips you and soothes you at the same time. It seems strange to describe music as both intense and unassuming, but this is what Wet’s live set is like. Each song is characterised by a low-key melancholic melody that builds up to a sneaky grindy kind of beat where you forget what you’re supposed to be melancholic about.

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The Dew Process Label had a lot to celebrate that night. From what I could tell, all the performances were not just up-and-comers but heavy-hitters. First up was Eves the Behavior with her incisive lyrics and siren-like vocals, then TKay Maidza stomped on with her Nicki Minaj-esque super-fast rhymes and got everyone moving, followed by the soulful electronic beats of Until the Ribbon Breaks.

Wet finished up the set perfectly, the final exhibit in the line-up that showed us that Dew Process have signed up a series of acts that are engaging, clever and still evolving their art form. Watch this space.

*Words by Claire Benito.
*Photography captured by Luke Latty.