Juan Wauters – Real Life Situations
Juan Wauters is an artist of eclectic influences. Born in Montevideo, Uruguay but hailing from New York, he first found limited fame as part of indie trio The Beets, before going solo in 2014.
His initial solo work, however, was somewhat underwhelming, swapping his old band’s sense of fun for a more earnest folky singer-songwriter vibe that didn’t necessarily suit him. All that began to change with 2018’s La Onda de Juan Pablo and the following year’s follow-up, Introducing Juan Pablo, which embraced a more collaborative ethos and his Uruguayan roots.
Now, with his new LP Real Life Situations, Wauters appears to have truly found his niche. Despite opening with the spoken words of Weather Underground leader Bernardine Dohrn advocating violent resistance in America, it’s a bright and breezy record that acts as a strangely endearing documentation and endnote to an extraordinary Covid-19-blighted year.
Opening song Monsoon (which features HOMESHAKE, aka Peter Sagar) is low-fi RnB, whose jazzy trills and whomping sound a bit like lounge music for the terminally hip – but it’s likeable enough that one would nod along in the kind of trendy Brooklyn bar where it’d no doubt make the playlist.
The album’s tracks are strung together with voice notes and TV clips that could annoyingly break things up, but actually serve as pleasant punctuation on a record that hazily runs together, providing definition between the Spanish language Locura (with its hints of David Bowie’s Moonage Daydream), cartoonishly upbeat lockdown anthem Presentation, and hiphop interlude Unity, featuring Cola Boyy. Its lead single and focal point, Real, featuring longtime collaborator Mac DeMarco, is a meandering ode to the pleasures lost during the pandemic and letting go. It’s not a traditional showpiece track, but rather suits Real Life Situations‘s contemplative themes.
A second half that leans towards Wauters’s Latin side contains two real gems: Lion Domes, a collaboration with Air Waves that is lit up by frontwoman Nicole Schneit’s tender vocals, and Powder, a strings-infused closer that ends matters on a meditative high.
Real Life Situations isn’t a particularly ostentatious or ambitious album, and as a result rarely hits striking highs; but it is a pleasant record to spend time with that captures the relaxing and contemplative feelings that are another, perhaps less explored, side of a tragic year when much has been on hold.
Real Life Situations is released on 30th April 2021. For further information or to order the album visit Juan Wauters’s website here.
Watch the video for the single Monsoon here: