Two years ago, an English songwriter named Westerman took one corner of the online music world by storm. When “Confirmation” surfaced, a lot of music sites — including ours — were immediately taken with his songwriting. We soon named Westerman an Artist To Watch. (And “Confirmation” lingered as such a stunning piece of work that we ranked it as one of the best songs of the decade towards the end of last year.)
He had a big 2018 and early 2019 after that — releasing the Ark EP, playing his first Stateside shows. Then, through most of 2019, things were a little quieter for a new artist on the rise. It would seem Westerman was spending that time working on what was to come next.
Today, Westerman’s back with a new single and the announcement that he’s signed with Partisan Records, which presumably means there’s much more than a single on the immediate horizon. But in the meantime we have “Blue Comanche,” the first new Westerman song in quite some time. Here’s what Westerman had to say about it:
“Blue Comanche” is about the inevitability of environmental loss as a consequence of modernization. I’m not a Luddite, I don’t think we should go back to the Stone Age or anything, but there’s still something profoundly sad about what’s being lost.
I find party politics frustrating, because it’s so cyclical. I’m obsessed with ethics, and politics and ethics can be bad bedfellows. I’m political in a solitary way. There are issues that I think are important and occupy my thoughts, but I struggle with organized politics. In the party system there’s inevitable compromise and concession, which is frustrating. That’s why I like writing, you can say what you want without any dilution.
I wanted this to be a calming song though, not angry. Today it’s so easy to live in an echo chamber of bad news, but if you look hard you can still see individual acts of kindness everywhere. You have to be engaged and stay sensitive to suffering, but it’s not constructive to live in that space all the time.
“Blue Comanche” immediately announces itself as one of the finest distillations of the form we’ve seen Westerman toying with over his handful of releases. (It probably says something that it’s been stuck in my head intermittently for a year, since he debuted it live during his US dates last spring.) It’s got the same crystalline, far-seeing character of “Albatross” and “Confirmation,” the gorgeous interplay of synths and guitar that Westerman and his collaborator Bullion have perfected, and that same ability to seem elusive at first and yet soon reveal itself to be inescapably catchy. Check it out below.
“Blue Comanche” is out now via Partisan Records.