Published Apr 16, 2019Roughly a year after the release of their EP, Perfume, and a little less than two since their fourth studio album, Plum, California garage rock ensemble Wand offer Laughing Matter, a whirling combination of fuzzy guitars and delicate melodies. With each release, Wand have been exploring new territories, pushing their sound into different avenues of psychedelia.
While Wand's earlier releases were characterized by their grungy garage rock sound (in the same realm as contemporary Ty Segall), Laughing Matter finds the band taking their previous sound and moulding it into something new entirely. Once fast and abrasive, Wand are softer and more thoughtful on Laughing Matter; the fuzz and distortion are no longer a main feature, but rather tools used to add layers of texture and sound alongside rhythmic guitar and evocative keys.
"Walkie Talkie" is an energetic and catchy tune, bringing both guitar and keyboards to centre stage as the song dives into waves of synth and distortion. However, the true golden moment of the album is the song "Evening Star": a subdued yet momentous track featuring both frontman Cory Hanson's and keyboardist Sofia Arreguin's vocals. At first soft and melancholic, around halfway the track rips into of the most tantalizing riffs on the album, only to lull back into Arreguin's haunting and angelic vocals. The song itself is a great example of how the band easily manoeuvres through moments of melody and distortion with relative ease, blending the two cohesively.
With each release of Wand, the band seem to be pushing boundaries and developing their sound into something increasingly distinct and mature. As the name suggests, Wand seem to be capable of anything magic, so long as they have the will to do so. (Drag City)