While single “Frog” may begin with a nod to the film-noir obsessions of 90s trip-hop, there’s an unmistakable stoned folkie vibe directing the psych-out paranoid visions portrayed in the lyrics here. But, while the more noteworthy chemical and sonic explorers who have trodden this path tended, generally, to get sloppy in their hallucinatory recitations, Westerner is a unit that knows how to cut every inch of fat off their tunes.
Slow and concentrated, “Frog” sounds like a midnight walk through an empty amusement park. Tension is the key to Westerner’s formula with scratches and gentle percussions announcing a peak that arrives only towards the tail-end of the tune and keeps off the expected distortion pedal high gears. When it does hit, the payoff is every bit as strange and obtuse as the previous three minutes had been.
Westerner is a unit that requires a fair deal of commitment from their fans, but those willing to trade in their time may find a universe worth exploring.