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Archive for October, 2015

Monday, October 19, 2015

Wand – 1000 Days (Album Review)


Three albums in thirteen months is a huge ask for any band – but for Wand it seems like they’re already ready for their fourth. Over the course of ‘ganglion relief’ and ‘golem’ they set out their prototype – picking up the sound that Black Sabbath and the likes made popular and sticking it out in the desert. The riffs were there, but they were given space; the proto metal was there but in distinctly blown out all American scenery. It’s a killer sound that a band could forge a career on, but Wand have different ideas.

1000 Days almost sounds like a retrospective; the genres and styles bridged here feel like the best picks of a creative band over the course of five years – from the stuttering, Magazine checking ‘Stolen Footsteps’ to the psychedelic folk of the title track, to possibly one of the standout tracks of the year so far in the bizarre percussive zombie groove of ‘Dovetail’, this feels like a band overflowing with ideas in a productive way.

That’s perhaps the only criticism of the album here – it feels like here there are three or four seeds to some really incredible albums that will never exist because they can’t stay interested for long enough. An entire album that expands on ‘Dovetail’ would be phenomenal, and there’s no question that they’re capable of it, but it feels like they’re already done with it. (For possibly the first time, I’d hugely appreciate self-indulgent expanded version of an album – the offcuts from this album must have been brilliant to leave this many incredible tracks.)

This is undoubtedly one of the albums of the year, possibly even surpassing Golem. And, at this rate, we’ll have one even better by Christmas.

Friday, October 16, 2015

DEERHUNTER – FADING FRONTIER (Album Review)


Now 10 years into their lifespan, it’s fair to say Deerhunter have skated from sound to sound, with their last album, 2013’s Monomania, taking a roughly hewn garage as its loose core.

But a wonderful balance seems restored on Fading Frontier, on which texture and a lightness of touch is evident and resplendent throughout. Even on the dirtier – and, dare we say it, groovier – tracks, particularly lead single Snakeskin, or the delicious, slow plod of Leather And Wood, there’s a clarity that even the tape loops of Broadcast’s James Cargill, or the harpsichord of Stereolab’s Tim Gane can’t obscure.

Lofty frontman Bradford Cox hovers above proceedings, his clipped, lip-smacking vocals as alluring as ever. As he repeatedly slurs the title of Living My Life, there’s a sense of optimism in his voice that makes for a welcome addition to the band’s sound. Maybe he’s taking the piss, or perhaps sarcasm’s at play, but Fading Frontier seems to be Deerhunter’s most crystal-clear record to date. Nine times out of 10, it’s precisely this clarity that allows their miasma of messages to hit home the hardest.