South London-born and Athens, Greece-based artist Westerman has been likened to Arthur Russell and cult folk innovator John Martyn with his blend of literary-inspired, magical-realist lyrics, whisper-soft melodies and echoes, beats and murmurs courtesy of producer collaborators like James Krivechenia (Big Thief) and Bullion.
His hugely anticipated debut album, Your Hero Is Not Dead was released in summer 2020 on Partisan, a graceful and self-reflective project described as “excellent” by Pitchfork, that continued the artist’s journey from pop maverick to one of the most vital voices coming out of the UK. Your Hero Is Not Dead features the stand-out songs, “The Line”, “Your Hero Is Not Dead,” “Waiting on Design,” “Think I’ll Stay” and “Blue Comanche” and is the follow-up to his critically-acclaimed Ark EP.
In early 2023, Westerman announced his second album An Inbuilt Fault, to be released on Partisan on May 5th. An Inbuilt Fault encapsulates some of the most adventurous and unselfconscious songwriting of Westerman’s career with music that is heavier and more sonically daring than Westerman’s previous releases. While first working solo through a period of isolation in Italy in 2020 and 2021, a chance meeting with Big Thief’s James Krivchenia at a show in London changed this. Westerman decided to take a leap of faith and collaborate with the drummer and an extended crew of Los Angeles associates to flesh out his new songs. The Italy demos became jumpoff points for jams which, in imaginatively edited forms, pushed the songs into new affective realms; sometimes, the mood became more sinister, sometimes more triumphant.
Throughout the album, Westerman abstracts his specific points of inspiration into invented scenes featuring multiple characters (sometimes distinguished with vocal effects or alternate vocal ranges) and allows his most broad-strokes universal sentiments to dominate the foreground. The result is Westerman’s own mini-epic about being in crisis, stitched together from torn song fragments and spontaneous moments of musical exorcism, which combine to tell a story that takes clearer shape with repeated listens.
Praise for Westerman:
“Softly powerful alt-pop that feels like a warm hug” The Guardian
“The British songwriter’s excellent debut mines the gentle and detailed sounds of soft rock’s past, while his lucid yet uncomplicated lyrics interrogate the uncertainty of the present” Pitchfork
“deft welding of synthetic sounds, folk sensibilities, and introspective lyrics” Office Magazine
“Westerman manages to balance ruminations over abstract moral and existential concerns with music that is strikingly beautiful” Stereogum
“elegant pop songs full of self-interrogation” Rolling Stone