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Wand - Plum (Album Review)

Tuesday, 03 October 2017 Written by Graeme Marsh

‘Plum’ is the fourth LP from Los Angeles band Wand, following up the quickfire trio of ‘Ganglion Reef’, ‘Golem’ and ‘1000 Days’, which were released in little over a year between 2014 and 2015. It marks a departure from the psych-garage-rock pigeonhole the band found themselves slung into and finds them standing out in a burgeoning crowd of peers.

Now a five-piece after the addition of second guitarist Robbie Cody and Sofia Arreguin on keys, ‘Plum’ is a more collaborative affair. Previously, frontman Cory Hanson would put together demos for Lee Landey (bass) and Evan Burrows (drums) to flesh out. “We wanted to make a record that was just us writing together and learning how to play together without really worrying about the studio,” he told LA Music Blog.

Duly, ‘Plum’ makes for an intriguingly eclectic melting pot of ideas. From Electric Light Orchestra-style staccato keys to Beatles-esque vocals, the title track epitomises the move away from distorted, mesmerising fuzzy psych to something more unique. Comparisons to a band like Spoon even feel fitting.

Bee Karma is structured like a ‘Bends’-era Radiohead track, where noisy guitar passages are interspersed with dreamy psychedelic vocals. The instrumental High Rise continues in that vein, sounding muted at first before the song comes crashing through the walls.

The chaotic White Cat displays more weirdness as the band’s guitar experimentation is picked up by pounding percussion. It feels like something lifted from the ashes of the 1967 psych era. The Trap, though, provides some relief after that onslaught, coming over like a country-tinged High and Dry.

The closing pair of seven minute behemoths - Blue Cloud and Driving - steal the glory at the death. The former moves from an alarmingly tortuous, attention-grabbing beginning through prog rock guitars and further Spoon-isms, while the latter then plays out as a power-ballad peppered with exquisite solos.

By ditching their blueprints, Wand have created a mini-masterpiece with ‘Plum’. The detour will upset a few, but the eclectic dynamism here is at times enthralling. It’s a triumph from a band that seem to have found themselves.

Wand Upcoming Tour Dates are as follows:

Tue January 23 2018 - BRIGHTON Patterns
Wed January 24 2018 - LONDON Dome
Thu January 25 2018 - BRISTOL Louisiana
Fri January 26 2018 - MANCHESTER Soup Kitchen
Sat January 27 2018 - GLASGOW Glasgow Garage
Sun January 28 2018 - LEEDS Brudenell Social Club
Mon January 29 2018 - BIRMINGHAM Hare and Hounds

Click here to compare & buy Wand Tickets at Stereoboard.com.

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