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Westerman – “I Turned Away”

The production on Westerman‘s songs is as bare and lonesome as his lyrics, which deal with feelings of self-deception and indecision. On the mysterious London singer-songwriter’s recent single “Confirmation,” the initial impression that something almost feels missing in the stark production (provided by Westerman’s frequent collaborator Bullion) is offset by a mammoth, indelible hook. It distinguishes the song from the duo’s previous, more subtle collaboration, the Call and Response EP from last year. The clarity of “Confirmation”‘s chorus contrasts with the verse’s colorful chords to give a crucial sense of sustained tension and provide it with a clearer, poppier arc.

“I Turned Away,” “Confirmation”‘s newly-released B-side, is even more plaintive and hollow-sounding. Mostly, it’s a duet for Westerman’s muted, slightly rough-around-the-edges vocal and Bullion’s boomy backbeat. Sometimes, Westerman dips into an indistinct mutter, but he underlines certain, pithy sentiments: “None of my friends knew that there was something wrong with me,” “I’m old enough to give up on this romance,” “I was hoping we deserved more,” and more. The crucial section is the titular refrain, a despairing cry that brings the song to its dramatic apex. If “I Turned Away” lacks the dazzling immediacy of “Confirmation,” it proves its mettle across mutliple listens–another worthy entry in the singer-songwriter’s small but consistent catalogue.

“Confirmation”/”I Turned Away” is out tomorrow via Blue Flowers Music.