Westerman : An Inbuilt Fault

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Westerman an inbuilt fault review

The first sentence Will Westerman sings on his sophomore album, An Inbuilt Fault, is “I’m sorry I couldn’t hold the breach.” On opening track “Give,” he conveys the challenge of being “on” for others in social settings—fusing his abstract approach to a sort of hybrid noisy pop, jazz influenced brand of music with a message to take pause. As Westerman sings, “It’s not easy to give,” a sigh of relief seems to accompany it, as if admitting the difficulty of modern life, an acknowledgement that the pressures we are faced with become heavier each day. 

Since his last album Your Hero Is Not Dead, Westerman seems to have smoothed out his musical landscape, fueling his new tracks with delicate percussive touches, and a strong emphasis on choral interludes. The title track builds up to a shimmering collision of violins and horns set against a rushing choral line, spiraling into harmonies and a moment of a cappella vocals that leans into an atonal sound before resolving itself into a peaceful close.  

Reflection and honesty become the motivators throughout the album. On “Take,” Westerman sings, “I need a home/And this isn’t a job/And why more records when everything is melting?” It’s strangely comforting to hear him ask such a question, of why are we pushing on through the mundanity when there are more critical issues at hand, as if Westerman is breaking a fourth wall. Many of the album’s themes lean into asking us to consider current fears, but with Westerman’s delicate approach, it creates an environment where we feel less alone as we grapple with the big what-ifs.

On the surface, “Help Didn’t Help At All” feels like a breezy beachside track, with soft synths and a laid-back drum pattern. But there’s something deeper as the track progresses, returning to the self doubt that found itself on the album’s opener. Echoing vocals seem to signify the brimming anxiety that accompanies a need for help, intertwined with Westerman’s statement of “I needed help / Help didn’t help at all.An Inbuilt Fault sometimes feels like a journal entry, with Westerman working through his internal worries, placing a magnifying lens on the most intrusive thoughts.

Throughout An Inbuilt Fault, there’s an overlying theme of insecurity and uncertainty. But, through all of that, a feeling of hope crawls out, as Westerman untangles the complexities of the confusion that weighs on him. Perhaps the album’s message lies within the track “A Lens Turning,” when Westerman sings, “I don’t know who I am anymore,” but responds to his own thought with a reaffirming “that’s okay.” By examining the world through a lens of grace and patience, Westerman crafts an album fueled by honest humanity.

Label: Partisan

Year: 2023

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