It should be pointed out right from the outset that this isn’t really the follow up to the exquisite Cerulean. Pop Music/False B-sides isn’t an album in the truest sense of the word, rather it’s a collection of songs that Will Wiesenfeld (aka Baths) was selling from his merch table after gigs on his tour, a way to put out all the work he has been doing since his debut was finished (as well as some that didn’t make the cut for that album).

What this means is that Pop Music/False B-Sides provides some moments of inspiration, some wrong turns but overall it’s an insight into where he’s going and what we can expect from the next record proper.

It has an experimental feel about it; like Weisenfeld is testing out new sounds, seeing what to keep and what to throw away. So we get ‘Flux’, whose glitchy percussion sounds like a robot eating a cassette. And we get the soaring piano balladry of ‘Inuria Palace’ (the first line of which is fantastic ‘I’ve been as careless as Versailles’). ‘Lovesick Synthetic’ is a duet with Radiohead’s ‘Fitter, Happier’ computer (it doesn’t really work) and ‘Nordic Laurel’ sounds a bit like Passion Pit.

All these disparate sounds do kind of work together as a standalone album but mostly, for obvious reasons, it lacks the coherence of Cerulean. You wouldn’t really expect anything else from a collection of songs like this.

What shines through is the passion and willingness to experiment in search of ‘that’ sound. It was always apparent that his music was more emotionally taut than his chillwave (eugh) contemporaries like Toro Y Moi or Washed Out. This record shows that what he does well is find that fine line between heart on your sleeve balladeering and glitchy, electronic experimentation.

Pop Music/False B-sides is a nice way to bridge the gap between Cerulean and what is to follow. It certainly whets the appetite for where Baths goes next.

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