- Whimmers, In the Midst of Something Worth Seeing
You always remember your first. And I'll never forget Isla Hormiga. The debut album from singer-songwriter Tim Halteman's project Thai BlueJeans Salesman was the first piece of music I reviewed for Seven Days.
It was a little undercooked, more of an exercise in making an album than an album itself, but I remember thinking to myself as I turned in the review to my editor: I wonder what this weird little project will turn into?
Seven years later, Halteman is back with a new project called Whimmers and a new LP, In the Midst of Something Worth Seeing. Now living in Burlington after stints in White River Junction and North Hero, Halteman has a number of projects, including drumming in indie-folk group A Box of Stars and doom-metal act Summit Prowler. With Whimmers, he dives deep into his inner troubadour, composing songs full of introspection and subdued melodies.
The LP opens with "In the Bubble (In the Middle)," picking up where the Thai BlueJeans Salesman project left off with Halteman's tender, almost conversational voice set against acoustic guitars and a shuffling drumbeat. It's all pretty standard indie folk until a vamping bridge reminds you of Halteman's more aggressive influences.
By the time the record hits "[You're Going Fast]," the differences between Halteman's other projects and Whimmers become clearer. The instrumental track delves into new-wave influences with a math rock-like rhythm, a sudden slash of color sandwiched between rainy-day folk ditties.
Even the songs that could fit into Halteman's earlier work, such as "Crinkled Note" and "Two Lights Blinking," have a heightened sense of adventure to their arrangements. In the Midst of Something Worth Seeing suffers no repetitive or lagging moments, something that wasn't the case with Isla Hormiga.
Halteman played every sound on the record — his first in four years — and engineered and mixed it himself. He returned to North Hero to make it, tracking the whole thing in a measly two days.
Unlike some of his earliest work, this LP has nothing raw or unfinished. On tracks such as "Night Pollinators" and "Two Lights Blinking," Halteman displays new sophistication as a songwriter and a producer. At no point does the album sound like a demo or something made in a bedroom.
The record closes with the title track and Halteman singing, "It's never on the inside / the way it looks from the outside." Listening, I understood why he shifted to a new project, even if Thai BlueJeans Salesman and Whimmers are both essentially indie-folk outfits. Halteman has leveled up, both as a songwriter and as a producer, making a record deserving of its own identity.
In the Midst of Something Worth Seeing is available at whimmers.bandcamp.com.