Obsidian - Baths

Generally favorable reviews - based on 22 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 19 out of 22
  2. Negative: 0 out of 22
  1. May 28, 2013
    A headlong dive into the uncomfortable territory where vital art is made, this album takes all of Baths' skills to a new level.
  2. May 30, 2013
    The desire to make pop songs has been complementary to the self-referential songwriting Weisenfeld has chosen to do, his choruses able to reinforce disdain, exemplify arousal as it grows and grows, or feel around until the sensation hits.
  3. May 28, 2013
    Throughout, the songs on Obsidian are physical in a literal sense, mimicking the human motion of the characters described therein.
  4. Jul 10, 2013
    The fatalistic and darkening Gothic moods bring out some of the shiniest elements of his prodigious talent and imagination. [Aug 2013, p.67]
  5. May 22, 2013
    [Wiesenfeld has an] uncommon ear for texture and rhythm, albeit one compromised by a weakness for self-consciously introspective lyrics and highfalutin sixth form poetry. [Jun 2013, p.93]
  6. Jun 18, 2013
    His spark remains undimmed. [Jul 2013, p.87]
  7. Jun 3, 2013
    Ultimately, Inter only solidifies Obsidian as an album with independent parts that are quite inspired on their own but only form a seemingly infinitely confused whole.
  8. May 31, 2013
    It’s a brave step to put down the filters, and embrace organic sounds, and one that is largely successful. However, much like discovering the inspiration of his chosen moniker (apparently he just really likes having a bath), some of the magic is lost in the process.
  9. 70
    Obsidian is a brave and necessary record that builds on Baths’ glitchy poignance.
  10. May 28, 2013
    For Obsidian, Wiesenfeld has simply stripped off the top layer of fluff to expose the raw pathos beneath his work. It is, as a result, a much more thematic and personal effort.
  11. May 24, 2013
    If you’re not bothered by the doom and gloom, Obsidian is just over 43 minutes of imaginative and spacious electro art--at times a bit jarring, but mostly beautiful.
  12. Jul 23, 2013
    Obsidian makes for a totally immersive plunge and, depending on where you are with your own head when you listen, either a welcome gulp of fresh air in recognition or a chance to hold your breath and dive deeply into life’s darker materials until you have to come back up again.
  13. Jun 4, 2013
    Obsidian is a shallow and unsatisfying exploration of this dark side.
  14. May 24, 2013
    Obsidian is a gorgeous suite of electronic pop songs that will draw you in and stay with you for days on end, and somehow it sounds like Baths more than Cerulean ever did.
  15. May 22, 2013
    The music is more intimate this time around, and makes for an infinitely more telling description of who Baths is.
  16. May 22, 2013
    Despite the density of the music, Obsidian is a wholly immersive experience, setting Baths back on course.
  17. 70
    There’s no denying the technical ability and songcraft is there, and unpicking the layers is the most enjoyable part of listening, but it’s emotional tugging ultimately strikes as hollow, not through insincerity but in being too obfuscated or overbearing for me to really love these songs.
  18. Jul 1, 2013
    Baths’ second album is dark and distressing but ultimately compelling.
  19. Jul 1, 2013
    This is an extremely strong, varied follow-up from an artist who is yet to fulfil his potential.
  20. May 29, 2013
    This is the aching beauty of Obsidian: its ability to be so matter-of-fact and reposition the taciturn as commonplace.
  21. May 31, 2013
    By blending the conceptual drive of Post-Foetus and the organic songwriting of Baths, Wiesenfeld has delivered on the promise of Cerulean and found his place among contemporaneous pop experimenters like Grimes and Autre Ne Veut.
  22. 83
    As an entity, Obsidian is neither more nor less accessible than Cerulean. Ultimately, your mood as a listener--and perhaps the weather--will dictate how often you’ll return to Obsidian‘s bleak and beautiful world.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 37 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 9 out of 10
  2. Negative: 0 out of 10
  1. May 29, 2013
    Wow!!! What a wonderful, dark record. To be honest I didn't expect this to be this good, but it is indeed flawless, might actually be one of the best albums I heard this year. "No Eyes" is breathtaking. Full Review »
  2. Jun 21, 2013
    Bath’s (technically) third effort, Obsidian, grants listeners with a rare vantage point to witness the growth of an artist in both their music and personal lives. After releasing what is essentially an album of B-sides during a 2011 tour, Will Wiesenfeld, the mind and man behind Baths, has graced us with the supremely dark and intrinsically real album the product of time spent penning while notably ill. You can probably take a hint from the album cover which features what appears to be a coal miner holding another, in grief.

    In this release, we see a stray from the more poppy glitch beats of Cerulean, and venture into darkness filled with wandering piano notes, and a combination of synthesized and actual percussion instruments this evolution was as largely brought about because of Wiesenfeld’s desire to play with a full band, as it was because of his mental or emotional state during sickness. It’s evident from the very first track, “Worsening.” The lyrics begin, whispered, “Birth was like a fat black tongue Dripping tar and dung and dye Slowly into my eyes I might walk upright But then again I still might try to die…” The refrain is just as unsettling, with Wiesenfeld building to a wail, “Where is God when you hate him most When the mouths in the Earth come to bite at my robes Hell that sits below, of you would do well to bellow At the cold, the lifeless, the worsening souls.” The sounds are fleeting, and the listener feels a sense of despair, but somehow is proud of it. It’s an odd journey listening to this song, to be sure, and I’d say that’s a pretty apt description for the following 9 songs as well.

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    Full Review »
  3. Jun 6, 2013
    This album is truly a treat. I had high expectations for Wiesenfield as I adored Cerulean. He truly outdoes himself. Obsidian is filled with wonderful melodies (see "Ironworks"), off beat feels (see "No Past Lives") and gruesomely personal lyrics ("No Eyes," "Incompatible"). Not only has this album been great as a stand alone masterpiece, but it fits perfectly into music today. It contains universal themes about despair, love, and pain. With hope, this glorious album is not the creative peak for the endlessly inventive 24-year-old, but if it is he has given us the Album of the Year. There is no music like this today. It is original, emotional, dark, twisted, and beautiful. Thank You Mr. Wiesenfield, thank you. Full Review »