Wetnurse - Invisible City (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review


Invisible City (2008)

Seventh Rule

Wetnurse starts their sophomore album, Invisible City, with a droning, nearly bluesy acoustic riff that fades into a helicopter's rotors; what really sets the tone for the album, however, is the first 20 seconds of riffage after the ambient helicopter disappears. Where new labelmates Light Yourself on Fire play with loose fury and reckless abandon, Wetnurse pursues rigid song structure -- the tightly controlled placement of guitars and the corresponding drum parts that transition throughout the songs.

While relying on a mixture of hardcore, metal and punk that doesn't seem too off for Seventh Rule, Invisible City explores a different side of the genres. The band plays with strict discipline, layering on elements of avant noise and jazz-based melodics. Despite the screaming, Wetnurse is probably not the band you're going to put on in your car when you're feeling the urge to headbang. Listening to Wetnurse requires an appreciation of technical songcraft.

The standout track is the swirling "Sacred Peel," which allows for a dizzying riff to proceed into some straightforward metal midway through the song. But regardless of the band's technical precision, there are some technical issues with the album that need to be addressed.

Namely, the production on the album is ultimately too muted and low-key. And while a rawer sound worked well for the original recordings for the Clash, Wetnurse fails to deliver the same upstart energy that those four young Londoners brought to the table in the late `70s. Personally, I like my technically proficient metal and hardcore to bombard the speakers instead of drag through the speaker wire.

Still, a few knobs on the board shouldn't discount an album of risks, growth, and expansion. My only hope is for a producer with a different vision.