Album Review: W.E.T. – “One Live – In Stockholm”
I try to be a proper reviewer. I mean I really do try. I do my research. I’ve always got a pen. Then the powers that be send down a record that starts with the words “wet one” and I can’t help but snigger like I’m on a sleepover with Beavis & Butthead.
W.E.T. are a melodic rock trio comprised of members from other leading genre favourites. Mouth is supplied by journeyman Jeff Scott Soto, lead guitar by Work of Art’s Robert Säll and all kinds of other stuff by Erik Mårtensson of Eclipse. The result then is (W)ork of Art, (E)clipse and Jeff Scot(T) Soto. No wait, that can’t be right… *consults notes*… oh, Talisman! No, me neither.
Present here are two CDs (and a DVD version) recorded in early 2013 at the Debaser club in Stockholm. The tracks featured are taken from the band’s eponymous debut album and the (as it was then) unreleased follow-up Rise Up. As is de rigueur with live albums, this one feels very much like ‘one for the fans’.
A lack of familiarity with the trio’s heritage will mean this one is a hard sell, at least to a wider audience. That said, One Live does have an awful lot going for it. W.E.T.’s live lineup, fleshed out by further members of Eclipse, is never anything less than slick and tight. A few tracks in and Soto reveals his excitement to be finally putting on a proper gig. A little research reveals this is only W.E.T.’s second ever live set, and even accounting for the fact three-fifths of the live band play together regular, it’s still a hella impressive performance.
I’ll Be There is bright and breezy pop-rock with plenty of glitzy soloing and Soto is able to demonstrate his impressive chops in the high register. Unsurprisingly given his body of work (google is your friend, go look), Soto comes off as a strong, confident frontman at the peak of his powers. Love Heals has the gentle sway and major chords that patch directly into collective muscle memory. It’s a track primed to set a loft a thousand lighters… or e-cigarettes, camera phones… or whatever else gets used nowadays.
At times the show sounds instantly familiar, Broken Wings definitely shares a few “Woah oh oh ohs” with U2’s Pride, and there’s a similarly liberal splattering of riffage you’ll have heard before elsewhere too. Luckily, Jeff, Robert and Erik have stolen the choicest cuts.
Overall, this is an enjoyable recording and a spirited performance. Lengthy careers mean all involved have clocked up a good deal of gig experience, but it’s still impressive to see any lineup come together and play this well. The downside is that the tracks are formulaic and even after repeated listens, it’s hard to distinguish between them, but that’s a blow softened by the fact the generic W.E.T. sound is both uplifting and well crafted.