If there were an optimal time for Britt Walford, drummer for Slint and unsung backbone of the group, to return to mostly instrumental indie rock, now might it. Touch & Go recently offered a beyond-deluxe reissue of the band’s masterpiece, and the occasionally-reunited group obliged with strings of tour dates and film screenings. The band’s influence continues to grow well outside of post-rock, popping up in heavy metal and experimental circles.
Enter This World, a tempered and warm six-song set from Walford’s new gracefully psychedelic trio, Watter. Walford plays drums, of course. Louisville multi-instrumentalist Tyler Trotter and Grails guitarist Zak Riles cycle through a panoply of familiar and exotic sounds — the oud and the electric guitar, the melodica and the sequencer, the synthesizer and the saz.
The trio favors psychedelic, mantric rock, with winding riffs padded by textures so thick and pillowy that the band rarely has room to set much on fire. And that’s OK: Their fluid reserve is more convincing than their heavy moments. On “Small Business,” Walford pushes back hard against the whirring synths and angled leads, but the moment sounds forced. Better is the halcyon “Bloody Monday,” which uses a sample from Alan Lomax’s archives as the music-box basis for gentle, loping acoustic beauty. The trio finds a happy medium on “Seawater,” a pulsing, melodic meditation that swerves like Polvo, throbs like Om and peaks not with clatter but instead with a prolonged, perfect arc toward the exit.