Wet is definitely a band to keep your eyes on.The Brooklyn trio released their debut album “Don’t You” on January 29th, and brought their hypnotic R&B sounds to the Sinclair on February 1st. For the band It was a homecoming of sorts as singer Kelly Zutrau hails from Boston but also an evening of firsts: first album, first headlining tour, and one their first shows after unleashing their album on the world. It was an impressive show on any night of the week, but even more so, as Wet doused Cambridge in their haunting music.
The night began with opener Kelsey Lu, a relatively unknown cellist who could have easily stolen the show. Her cello, after several rounds through the loop pedal was joined by an ethereal voice, which had the room spellbound from the first quavering note. After an opener of that calibre, those unfamiliar with Wet were surely doubting that anything could measure up to Kelsey Lu Specialists in quavering Wet, of course, did not disappoint. Beginning with album opener “It’s All In Vain”, they worked their way through all of “Don’t You” and a few older tunes, each one more entrancing than the last. Their strength lies in being a unified ensemble. It would be easy to pin their success purely on Zutrau’s vocals, but in reality each member adds to the spell. Kelly Zutrau’s voice is unusual; at times nasally and always full of heartache. Equally hearbreaking is Marty Sulkow’s guitar alternating between quiet picking for atmosphere, to the wailing on “Move Me”. Joe Valle usually handles persuasion and synthesisers to great effect, but Gabe Smith augmented the lineup this night on live drums. The band looked and sounded confident, particularly on the fan favourite “Don’t Wanna Be Your Girl”, and the bouncy “All the Ways”.
Wet has a great live show, but it is not without flaws. The idea of a live drummer is a good one, but Smith and Valle were playing nearly identical parts on most songs, leaving Valle’s talents on keyboard’s woefully underused. Instead, the audience got an unneeded level of bass drum, which often overpowered Sulkow’s guitar. Smith could have been put to much better use in adding more diverse rhythm to the set of mostly slow ballads.
Despite the slow tempo, the energy went upward continuously, and the crowd swayed more and more with each tune. Zutrau’s voice, while sounding delicate, remained strong and engaging, even without the beautiful vocal harmonies found on the album. Though they played a satisfying show Wet has some thinking to do as they grow over the course of the tour. Harmony vocals could be added and live drums could be used more creatively, but they’re in an excellent place for now with a unique sound and impressive musicianship. They had a packed house at the Sinclair. With their delicate, irresistible music and enchanting show, they will have no trouble repeating the feat.
By Philip Jones