London-based multi-instrumentalist Wu-Lu (aka Will Romans-Hopcraft) has developed a sound that is all his own. His music doesn’t fit neatly into any boundaries or genre labels. It feels disorienting but familiar, occupying a space that fits somewhat in the same realm as fellow London avant-pop trailblazers like King Krule and Dean Blunt.

Wu-Lu was introduced to a wider audience via his 2021 single “South,” a scathing critique of gentrification and displacement in his native South London. “South” wasn’t just a turning point in Wu-Lu’s career, it also unveiled a quality of emotional honesty that he had never revealed before. As opposed to his previous, more downtempo work, “South” was also an impressively well-engineered example of ‘90s-style grunge-meets-punk, demonstrating that Wu-Lu could beef up his sound when it suited him.

LOGGERHEAD, Wu-Lu’s sonically-wired pop project and Warp Records debut, is a fitting introduction to his unusual approach: a delirious mix of drum’n’bass breaks, grunge guitars and brutally honest lyrics slapped together in sound collages that cover a breathtakingly wide range of genres and styles.

Rather than retreading familiar ground, LOGGERHEAD shows that Wu-Lu has become more than just an angry voice against the system. With his debut album, he’s created an emotional journey through what it means to be (maybe no longer) at home in one’s own skin.

The album fluctuates between dreamy, breathy tracks with ethereal vocals (opening track “Take Stage” and the D’n’B-inflected “Facts”) to hardcore numbers with hard-hitting beats (“Blame” and “Road Trip”) to more indie rock tracks that are closer to the grunge genre (“Slightly”) but still add identity to the album overall.

Overall, LOGGERHEAD is a record that seems to get better with each new listen. It’s a complex album, and it’s one worth checking out if you’re into adventurous music with sharp production and plenty of swagger. There are moments of quiet, of reflection—times when Wu-Lu allows for introspection, as any successful record should.

But it’s also a cerebral and aggressive ride. It hits you in the solar plexus, then grabs you by your shirt collar and urges you to at least maintain eye contact as it punches another hole in your gut. Unafraid to blend a barrage of styles into one sound, Wu-Lu has established himself as an ambitious artist worthy of notice among the modern underground.

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cover art for Loggerhead, the debut album from London artist Wu-Lu