Wes Chiller’s New Single “Found at Sea”


Wes Chiller’s rise from the California coast to global recognition is a reminder that the music world, even in its indie incarnation, is still an occasional meritocracy. There’s no doubt, however, hearing Chiller’s new single “Found at Sea” that this is a singer/songwriter who has honed his compositional skills over time before arriving at the polished and singular result we hear today. He frames it with a sunlit sound as well, each instrument well-defined in the song’s mix, and moving forward with purpose and intent.

He doesn’t impose his rock guitar muscle on listeners. Saying that, however, never means that Chiller neglects to put his six-string prowess to memorable use, especially near the song’s end. The ragged but right sound dominating much of the track is a conscious affectation, but effective. There are listeners who will get a strong California surf music scene vibe from the playing while others will not. No matter.

He nonetheless creates an idiosyncratic listening experience. Chiller’s lyrical skills, his distinctive approach to arranging, and the production aesthetic governing “Found at Sea” merge to make for a signature moment in Wes Chiller’s journey that’s likely to stand as long as he continues writing and recording.

It would be effective in multiple surroundings but building “Found at Sea” as a full band arrangement connects with greater immediacy. He’s wise to approach the song from that angle. The drumming has an assertive swing from the outset that maintains that pace throughout the track’s entirety and the recording captures it in a viscerally physical way connecting with listeners during every verse and refrain.

The percussion, alongside the aforementioned guitar playing, rates as the song’s musical highlights. Attentive listeners will hear the light echo that Chiller drapes over the arrangement though never so pronounced that it becomes a focal point of the performance. Instead, it brings an appealing ambiance to a song that already sounds fantastic; post-production decisions such as this accentuate its allure.

Many listeners will appreciate and enjoy the easy amble of this piece. It keeps a single trajectory without ever boring listeners and the steady thrust of the arrangement has near metronomic accuracy. It doesn’t sound over-rehearsed. Capturing a bit of shambolic spirit without ever rendering the tune too loose is an accomplishment in and of itself that bears mentioning. “Found at Sea” almost sounds tossed off, like an afterthought, with the cooly relaxed way that Chiller tackles the cut.

It’s another lunge into the song’s bag of tricks. Seasoned music listeners will hear how focused Chiller’s vision for the song is without him ever rendering the track inert. The sinewy guitar work, especially the lead playing near its end, has a sly knowing tenor that listeners will have near immediate faith in and follow through the song’s conclusion. Wes Chiller’s new single smacks of retro tendencies, but it has a thoroughly modern sound that’s never overproduced and gives the composition more than enough room to breathe, grow, and ingratiate itself with listeners. “Found at Sea” is a single you won’t likely soon forget. 

Trace Whittaker