The cynicism of Ian Wayne’s new album is evident from its title. A Place Where Nothing Matters is out today and deals with hopelessness and disinterest via unique songwriting that feels more like poetry than lyrics. This LP follows his lofi At Home EP from last summer, which itself was a reinvention of his career; he had previously put out a couple releases that were based on cold electronics. In Wayne’s newfound warmth, one may also find honesty, even if you have to look past his facetious tone. Stream the new album below.
“I was living the dream,” Wayne says on “Wully,” kicking off Nothing Matters. If you were unconvinced of his dedication to sarcasm, the end of this opening line will make you force a laugh: “I woke up in 2016.” Overt references to the election we would all rather forget don’t necessarily make this a protest album, but there is an implication that existence is political. After all, the moral of the record is to celebrate commonplace experiences as though they were vital; most of life is mundane, so villainizing those moments guarantees unhappiness.
Wayne is especially great at exploiting his relatability. He describes falling in love as “alien” on his leading single, “Revelation,” but comes around to the feeling of being extra-terrestrial. A bad date became the album’s standout track called “Sucker.” He uses his pleasantly deep speaking voice to walk us through every first date red flag, from light-hearted insults (“she took me for a lonely sucker”) to unusual habits (“she was exceptionally strange, taking trash from the train”). When he reverts to singing in the chorus, Wayne achieves an earworm of a flow.
A robust band takes Wayne to a new level of musicianship. Although his songwriting style is largely similar to his previous EP, his vision is clearer with more depth of sound. The art for Nothing Matters seems to reflect his growth; a sharp, synthetic foreground contrasts with the sepia-tinted landscape behind it. The world seems to lean more heavily toward the artificial lately, but, tongue in cheek, Wayne reassures us that we are still in reality.
If you are in New York, you can see Ian Wayne perform tonight at Fort Briscoe (more info) or on December 8th at Union Pool (tickets). Buy A Place Where Nothing Matters on Bandcamp. Follow Ian Wayne on Facebook and Instagram.