Wand Waves Its Freak Flag, And It Is A Delight

Ganglion Reef, the 35-minute long debut album by L.A.’s Wand is sonic DMT, a short, intense trip you can take on your lunch break and return to work with a slightly loopy smile on your face. The best psychedelica, like the best punk, always had a gooey core of pop music at its center, catchy melodies being just as important — maybe more important, given the heavy winds the music otherwise generates — than anything aimed right at radio programmers.  And so it is with Wand, a band that can appeal to anyone who made a mixtape including both Tame Impala and Unknown Mortal Orchestra.  Even after powering through sludgy riffs that seem like a bulldozer plowing a highway in the Mariana Trench, they shift to some sweet-sounding harmonies bristling with hooks.

Why we are on the cutting edge o’ discovery here is Wand opened last week for Ty Segall, and we were sufficiently moved to go home and download the album at 1:00 AM.  Live, Cory Hanson seems to wish he could graft the Eno-squall of “Re-Make/Re-Model” onto early Sonic Youth. Ganglion Reef, released in late August, showcases this incredibly gifted singer, songwriter, and guitarist who has a penchant for shifting into minor-key pretty stuff too.  The album has the pacing of an Olivia Tremor Control opus, replete with song titles like “Fire On The Mountain (I-II-III),” and whether the songs are 6:09 of pulsating psyche or three-minute snappy radio rock, this is a debut that heralds perhaps the union’s next great band.

Of course the music appealed to Ty Segall, who has wrapped his arm around the band and taken them for a ride.  Hanson has played with Mikal Cronin (they’re roommates in what seems like a group house you would either really want to live next to or nowhere near, depending on what hour the amps unplug), and let us just say that as fine a drummer as Ty is on his own recs, in Fuzz, or while actualizing the potential of White Fence, we would love it if he borrowed Evan Burrows for his next album, because on Wand’s debut, and certainly live, he channeled Keith Moon dueling with Kurt Dahle.  Go download “Flying Golem,” with its chiming garage-rock guitars and Farfisa evocation of a golden age, and like eating a single potato chip, you will not be able to resist more.  Like Oscar Wilde able to resist anything but temptation, we know you will press the buy button.  You see, as Wand waves over you, magic ensues.

One Response to “Wand Waves Its Freak Flag, And It Is A Delight”

  1. […] we saw Wand open for Ty Segall just over a year ago, we marveled at their potent combination of sludge and Power Pop.  We knew that Cory Hanson was a promising songwriter, a great singer, and as a guitarist was cut […]

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