Divine Times


Wetdog are Rivka Gillieron, Sarah Datbylgu, and Billy Easter, three female individuals with an expertise for chasing down melodies across their songs. Previous albums on Angular and Captured Tracks have indicated their interest in the minimal palette of post-punk, and while that remains a glowing core to their coals, Wetdog have also evolved in their approach to making music. In the time since the 2010 release of their second album, Wetdog, formerly based in London, have become a transatlantic project. Separated by an ocean, the trio has had to work harder than ever to rope together their instincts. This commitment to staying in touch with each other as well as in touch with their sound can be heard throughout Divine Times. Keen ideas swirl, each afforded the luxury of time and due process. Contrasts and flights of fancy that sounded haphazard before are now as enmeshed and integral as the band's close-knit mix of venturesome drumbeats, sinewy guitar lines, and bass anchor. Songs like "Message" and "Chocky" almost levitate with exuberance, their overlapping vocals pinned down by the propulsive rhythms; the effect is delirious and pulse-quickening. "Small Talk" makes for dizzying terrain, with a spry cluster of chords and dub-dipped quavering. "Ridgway Crash" echoes a similar music hall sensibility, its keyboard phrase weaving amidst a preset bongo beat, radio static, and eldritch choir. Divine Times is a distinctive album, hatched slowly, long-distance. The band's effortless style of songwriting has been given room to develop, with some of the more measured tracks on the album like "Twilight" and "Jym Fingers" making greater strides over time than the more immediate, danceable material. Tumbling drums, folk-horror backing vocals, and an elastic bassline provide an uncanny setting for guest vocalist Russell Walker's drowsy narrative on "Jockey Slot," with all the makings of a disquieting dream. "Divine Times" starts with an ominous drone and rattling change in pocket drumbeat before Rivka's voice climbs up on a thermal. Divine Times is an uncompromising album; it's an assured album that's been waiting for us to catch up. It has everything one would expect from Wetdog -- the characteristic fervor, deadpan humor, falling-to-bits willfulness -- yet Divine Times transcends the band's love of all things disjointed and accidentally happy. It's the sound of a confident band, out on its own limb. There's no looking down, only soaring upward.