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Juan Wauters: N.A.P. North American Poetry

Juan Wauters, N.A.P., North American Poetry,  N.A.P. North American Poetry review, Juan Wauters review, The Beets

Juan Wauters — N.A.P. North American Poetry

Release date(s): Feb. 4
Our Rating: 3/5
Spec Recs: “Lost in Soup,” “Woke Up Feeling Like Sleeping,” “Water
In one word: Down-to-earth

Most writers will tell you the first line is everything and often more important than anything that follows it.

Juan Wauters, the Uruguay-born, Queens-based artist associated with the rock ‘n’ roll band The Beets, released his debut solo album, N.A.P. North American Poetry, this week. His formal introduction to listeners, his first line is “I don’t like you / You’re a fool.”

But you’re likely to keep listening. I did.

The gritty realism of this introduction isn’t just in album opener, “Let Me Hip You to Something,” it’s sprinkled throughout the release. Matter-of-fact opening lyrics that only get more oddly specific as the songs go on — It’s this sort of quirkiness that gives the jangly folk tunes of North American Poetry some contrast to what other musicians of now are doing.

On an instrumental level, the songs aren’t breaking new ground. The heart (or art) of the matter lies in the lyrics. Even the song titles, when read in sequence, sound like poetry. If I imagine any theme calling out from this album, it’s existentialism. Existence.

Some listeners may take the release literally (and N-A-P), not recognizing anything special in what Wauters is offering up. Others, like me, will see it through a different scope. It’s not embellished or out of touch. It’s poetic in that it’s simple and familiar. While I appreciate the Beets and good rock ‘n’ roll, I can’t wait to hear more from Wauters’ solo journey.

North American Poetry is available now via Captured Tracks.

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