Los Angeles psychedelic warriors Wand return with their second album of heavy, heavy jams. Whereas their debut for Ty Segall’s God? imprint was heavy on the ol' synthetic texture, this one has more of a live feel. In short, it rocks, as you might expect given that it's the group's inaugural release for their new label In The Red.
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Friendly ghosts Wand released their last effort on Ty Segall’s God? and did what they were supposed to: swirling around the place in a hi-def psych tornado, they proved themselves to be a worthy band leaning on the heavier side of the garage rock spectrum. On their comeback ‘Golem’ they keep that aggression in mind, mixing trudging punk chord sequences in with their trembling riffs, sinister tones and harmonic theatrics.
Pretty much all of that describes second track “Self Hypnosis in 3 Days” in a nutshell, which is a good point of reference for the album as a whole. What if the Beatles were actually White Fence? Wand’s cooed vocals momentarily take us back to a different, more archaic definition of psych rock before the riffs start to interlock with the chord distortion and stoner percussion; it’s a pretty mix, and it continues through the album, the allure of “Reaper Invert” resting on the high pitched hums that obscurely rise into the mix.
Wand seem to have concentrated on making their music sound as intuitive as possible, and despite a haphazard collation of ideas, nothing feels out of place on ‘Golem’ -- the synth, which operates at a totally different timbre to the rest of this gruelling record, offers glamour in a dark, ruinous place. It’s an exciting magical journey and fittingly a band called Wand are here to take us on it. First they have to get out of their folks’ basement, though.
(April Fools' -- I liked a psych rock album.)
8/10 Jonny Chinchen Customer review, 10th April 2015
These guys really know how to hit the heavy psych sweet spot. There is no shortage of psych bands around at the moment, but Wand win serious points for the sheer heaviness of their sound - some real proto metal, hard rock riffing makes them a breath of fresh air. Other psych acts often rely on sound gimmicks to sound druggy or trippy, this lot just sound absolutely great!
Though their sound and styles are far from innovative, they have a perceptive sense of when things need mixing up - tempos suddenly speed up, new melodies emerge, timbres change.
The timing of this new album couldn't be better, too. If like me, you feel a combination of dismay and disgust at the "pop" direction taken by Lame Impala (yup me too - Clint), the sound of Wand is a bit like the old Tame Impala, but with significantly bigger balls. Where Tame Impala caress your ears, Wand really go after you, they try their best to punch you in the third eye.
The only reason for not awarding this 9 stars - 10 out of ten is reserved for the kind of godlike genius that comes around as often as an honest politician - is that this LP is so instantly loveable that it could wear itself out due to its own catchiness.
There is also a palpable feeling that the band are just short of realising their full potential, on the threshold of an utterly mindblowing and gamechanging piece of psychedelic music for their next LP. This optimism is balanced by an equal and opposite nagging doubt that says this current LP could in fact prove to be the crest of their wave.
These things said, Golem is an immense slab of heavy psych that really does the business, they blow away the tired feeling of yet another psych LP through the glory of their detuned guitars and the beautifully weighted fatness of the production. Very strongly recommended to all fans of kickarse rock music, and an essential purchase for the Dopesmokers.
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