Influenced by indie-rock styles Stuttgart’s Oliver Earnest explores the fragility of achieving peace in a complex world.
‘The Water Goes the Other Way’ emerges from the indie-rock end of Americana possibly best exemplified by the fuzzed-up soundscape of second track ‘Cancel Therapy’ that takes the album veering off in new ways from the more straight-ahead Americana of opening track ‘Gathering Speed’. This indie-rock inspiration is solidified in the next track ‘Marble Stars’ which arises from the riff-heavy rock of the Artic Monkeys and Modest Mouse.
Although Earnest is based in Stuttgart he spent much of his childhood in Colorado and so the lyrics show a real affinity for the language. The lyrics deal with the complexities of finding a way through a world that is changing and walking the tightrope of your own weaknesses. Produced by Earnest’s bandmate from his previous ‘post-rock’ group and including guest turns from, for instance, Kevin Kuhn from the German hardcore trio Die Nerven the album ends up sounding somewhere between the Mountain Goats and Fleet Foxes.
On ballads like ‘Life Expectancy’ the warm baritone of Earnest’s voice is front and centre supported by swelling walls of sound that threaten to bury it below a crescendo of heavier sounds; more of an avalanche than a wave. The album reaches its apotheosis in the closing track ‘Your Grand Plan’ where Earnest’s vocals are backed by slightly discordant harmonies that underpin the fear and disassociation that are the focus of the lyrics.
‘The Water Goes the Other Way’ is an effective and engaging album of alt-rock tropes that effectively underpins the tribulations of finding stability and peace in a troubled world.