wand Plum (CD, £10.50)label: drag city
‘Plum’ is Wand’s fourth LP since the band formed in late 2013 but their first new album in two years. After a whirlwind initial phase of writing, recording and touring at a frenetic clip, their newest document marks a period of relative patience; a refocusing and a push toward a new democratization of both process and musical surface. In late winter of 2016, the band expanded their core membership of Evan Burrows, Cory Hanson, and Lee Landey to include two new members - Robbie Cody on guitar and Sofia Arreguin on keys and vocals. From the outset, the new ensemble moved naturally toward a changed working method, as they learned how to listen to each other and trust in this new format. The songwriting process was consciously relocated to the practice space, where for several months the band spent hours a day freely improvising while recording as much of the activity as they could manage. Previously, Wand songs had generally been brought to the group setting substantially formed by singer and guitarist Cory Hanson; now seedling songs were harvested from a growing cloudbank of archived material, then fleshed out and negotiated collectively as the band shifted rhythmically between the permissive space of jamming and the obsessive space of critique. The music of ‘Plum’ focuses teeming, dense, at times wildly multichromatic sounds into Wand’s most deliberate statement to date, with a long evening’s shadow of loss and longing hovering above the proceedings. ‘Plum’ delicately locates the band’s tangent of escape from the warm and comfortable shallows of genre anachronism, an eyes closed, mouth open leap toward a more free-associative and contemporary pastiche of logic that more honestly reflects the ravenous musical omnivorousness of the five people who wrote and played it.
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