Still Woozy – Loveseat

A potent, psych-tinged profusion from an artist in his creative stride...

Still Woozy has an obsession with reversing love’s unnerving anxieties into garage pop euphoria. The Portland-via-Moraga songwriter/producer reworks genres like one of Koyoharu’s Hashiras – distorting homespun bedroom pop with introverted microdoses of folk, pre-Auto-Tuned soul, and the ‘Strawberry Jam’ side of psychedelia. 2019’s ‘Lately’ EP backed Goodie Bag with Habit and unfiltered hits of ‘boy brow’ escapism while 2021’s If This Isn’t Nice, Then I Don’t Know What Is buffered downers with the infinite appeal of ‘Room On Fire’, ‘A Hard Day’s Night’, and Lil Wayne’s ‘Mrs. Officer’. Woozy’s sophomore effort, Loveseat, pantomimes feelings in a familiar key, but he punches in soundscapes that find beauty in the ‘little things’ to really lean into your heart.      

As expected, Sven Gamsky can still make a melody out of anything. ‘Loveseat’ dissects themes of fatherhood and the Pacific Northwest with an ear-melting synesthesia of red, yellow, and blue – displacing his affection for bright guitar riffage with swirling synths and drum patterns that are more summer than a Tweety Bird Bar. Again and ‘Forwards’ pick up where ‘Cooks’ dazed off, impressively melding lo-fi, funk, and R&B into an evocatively rich blend of ideas that slows it up with ‘Baby’, an ode to ending all the needless space in between. On Lemon, Gamsky’s still in his head about his imperfections but every inflection and Parliament-sized fill proves otherwise. “My bed feels so empty, but it smells like you,” he croons, before turning heartsick misery into a moment of warmth, “Girl, you know just take your time / You know I’ll never leave your side, no.”

Like Kevin Parker and Lindsey Jordan, Woozy’s angst and honesty is crucial to his own art. He can be detached, distant, and “lonely down to the bone,” but as ‘Loveseat’ denotes, he’s become confident in letting experimental grooves lead to poetic resolutions. On ‘Frida Kahlo’, he turns a Pool riff and an inability to ‘let go’ into an annotation on surrealism and Peter Drake’s ‘Forever’ while ‘Shit Don’t Change’ – a rainy day, psych bit layered in Margo Guryan and Arthur Verocai – cites Hayao Miyazaki and a need to ‘stay in my zone’. ‘Houston’ coolly shifts into a lounge-like groove that’s more ‘Currents’ than ‘Congratulations’; ‘Big Fish’ and ‘Little Things’ imitate Cream and Caravan with shades of a prog rock dad’s vinyl collection; and Shotput, a straightforward love song, kicks up UMO’s ‘Blue Record’ to show how a dim heart can melt like a honeycomb. 

‘Loveseat’s’ timeless aura is inimitable, but it stems from an ability to make your heart flutter with varying degrees of psychedelic pop. Run It Back, a last-minute addition which was written two weeks prior to release, is Gamsky’s catchiest record to date as it interpolates iridescent guitars, ‘Late Nights’ wordplay, and the comforts of being on your partner’s ‘hip, hip, hip’. And then there’s Rid Of Me, a piano-driven composition ingrained in ‘60s art rock intricacies that skips an entire beat when Woozy stumbles into the notion of missing two, not one: “I’m so sick of being used to leaving my heart behind / Well, I love you still / Through it all.” It’s a bittersweet reminder of how polarising love can be – whether it’s finally feeling understood or moving on from someone you still care about – and it’s a portrait of an artist at peace with stapling their heart to their sleeve.

9/10

Words: Joshua Khan

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