Originally from Brooklyn, artists Sean Waterman got his musical start when he was in elementary school. After a move to Atlanta at the age of 14, Waterman began writing music of his own. In the time since, he’s released multiple works – most recently his full-length album Devices.
Waterman, like many musicians during the pandemic, dealt with feelings of uncertainty throughout the last year, and at times doubted that Devices would even get released, saying “I just wasn’t sure what the new “normal” was going to be and if my music would even be relevant.” The album, composed of 9 songs written about the last decade of Waterman’s life, is an expansion on his previous singer-songwriter material, broadening his sound with the addition of bass, percussion, and a number of other instruments that work wonderfully with his well-crafted songs.
HERE’S WHAT WE DUG MOST…
Waterman’s singer-songwriter roots are on clear display from the very first measures of the opening track, and they’re beautifully complemented by the full and balanced backing band accompanying him. Rules is a beautiful introduction to his sound – expressive, explosive songwriting, and a powerful but graceful vocal with a cadence that, in this instance, is reminiscent of John Mayer.
We lean in an electro-pop direction in Bodies, highlighting Waterman’s sonic flexibility. The track builds with intensity, with Waterman’s strong and steady voice the anchor all the while. And it’s not alone – title track Devices delivers us layers of rapid-fire percussion, giving the track a techno-pop-hybrid feel. Combining digital instruments and analog performances is never easy, but here Waterman gives us something that feels well-blended and natural.
There’s exceptional, vibrant lyricism all over this album, but there are of course sections that stand out as particularly remarkable. Swerve gives us one of these moments in the first verse, a fusion of evocative imagery and poetry in a few simple words:
“Well they’re telling you to fight on
Bleeding but the hungry bite on
And you see your train is moving
Conducted by that tune you’re grooving
You would never know
That your song is made of snow“
We also love closing track Flatline. Incorporating the beating of a heart monitor into the fabric of the track is both creative and thought-provoking. Though a generally soft piece, the arrangement really seems to follow the writing in this one, slowing on Waterman’s command and rising to meet the intensity of the chorus. It’s a very cinematic execution and it holds the listener’s attention through the end.
OUR FAVORITE TRACK…
The simple acoustic lead-in to Easy before being joined by an almost tropical wave of percussion grabs the ear right away. Then the low strings enter and you’re completely hooked. This is a warm and genuine display of excellent songwriting and performance from Waterman. Widely relatable lyrics push it in a pop direction, but this is a true singer-songwriter work at its core, as is the entire album – these extremely well-written songs are at the center of all of the layers of arrangements and production. And Waterman’s authentic, easygoing vocals sell it to us, line after line.
Balanced. Effortless. Brilliant, really. The work of Sean Waterman on Devices is the work of a gifted songwriter. With his lyrics as the focal point, the instruments he’s arranged around them fall perfectly into place, creating an incredibly smooth and full listening experience. For fans of singer-songwriter-style with a little of that “je ne sais quoi“, we think you’ll thoroughly enjoy the striking, hypnotic music of Devices.
BELOW: Listen to Devices and connect with his website and social media platforms. Please support Sean Waterman by visiting him online, and playing, downloading, and/or purchasing his music, or attending a live show! And, as always, thank you for supporting real music!