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Westerman’s highly anticipated second LP An Inbuilt Fault is a complex and endlessly rewarding collection of layered songwriting. The album’s nine songs took shape throughout the depths of the pandemic, in near total lockdown in Italy and the ensuing isolation following his move to Athens. It’s the soundtrack of Westerman’s reckoning with two years of intense loneliness, heartbreak, and dread. In spite of the dark beginnings of the album, An Inbuilt Fault emerges as a living, breathing transitional document that’s both thrillingly alive and deeply human. The record that ultimately emerged from these early solo experiments sounds wholly unlike what the description might suggest. An Inbuilt Fault is visceral and live-sounding, full of the sound of breath and the idiosyncratic gestures of acoustic instruments. The creative shift in the album came after a chance meeting between Westerman and Big Thief’s James Krivchenia at a show in London, inspiring Westerman to take a leap of faith and collaborate with the drummer and an extended crew of Los Angeles associates to flesh out his new songs. Once in LA, his demos became jump-off points for jams which, in imaginatively edited forms, pushed the songs into new realms; sometimes, the mood became more sinister, sometimes more triumphant. The result is music that is heavier and more sonically daring than Westerman’s previous releases. The album’s opening drum salvo sets the tone: Krivchenia’s percussion on “Give” sounds hyper-real rather than natural, blown-out and compressed, integrating sounds of smashed glass, cracking wood, and what sounds almost like fists on flesh. The primary musical dialogue in many of these songs is between the wall of percussion and Westerman’s vocals—rawer and drier in the mix than ever before, reinforced by bursts of rich three-or-four-part vocal harmonies.