Ben Watt

Storm Damage

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Like Fever Dream before it, Storm Damage was born of personal anguish -- it was written after the loss of Ben Watt's half-brother and in the midst of the sociopolitical turmoil of the late 2010s -- but the album sounds and feels different than its predecessor. Chalk that up to Watt's decision to create Storm Damage with what he calls "a future-retro trio," a combo consisting of a piano, double bass, and drums, supplemented by various synths and found sounds. The result is a hushed yet an intense affair, an album whose conflicted emotions are apparent but presented in a fashion that's so subdued, it's nearly soothing. The soft, subtle tension between the deeply felt songs and the smooth, sophistication of the execution is quite rewarding, since the album can alternately play like a plea or a balm, depending on mood or timing.

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