28 Oct 2014

The Wands / The Dawn (album review)

Sounding simultaneously like the future and a 60's garage psych band lost in the mists of time, Danish band The Wands are one of the most exciting bands to surface in 2014. Formed around the songwriting duo Christian Skibdal and Mads Gräs, the Danes' love of sixties has allowed them to forge a sound that's both fresh and reminiscent of the great bands of the 60's.

The Dawn is the band's debut album, and it comes from the label Fuzz Club Records, who are also home to The Lucid Dream. Clocking in at 40 minutes, The Dawn is almost like an acid-drenched odyssey of Nuggets style psychedelia, but with a more modern slant. "Nothing's really as it seems" Skibdal sings on the title track, and it almost acts as a manifesto for the rest of the record's perfect, but possibly disjointed sound.

The instrumentation is what ploughs it into the realm of neo-psychedelia; the organ sounds are more advanced, sounding cosmic and futuristic, as opposed to retrospective like they do on 80's albums like the Spacemen 3's Sound Of Confusion. The organ sounds are dystopian and unnerving on Get It Out of Your System, and almost mythical on War.

Skidbal's wandering guitar is distinctive and gorgeous to listen to. Throughout album opener Sound Of The Machine it leads the listener off the beaten path and into a hypnotic sonic cathedral, and during She's Electric (not an Oasis cover) it churns out a fantastic 13th Floor Elevators-esque riff.

Whilst Gräs' lyrics aren't life-changing - there are a fair few clumsy rhymes and nonsensical verses - they're certainly in-keeping with psychedelic atmosphere on the record. But this is compensated for, easily, by the Danishman's wonderful acid-wash voice. It's a mixture, almost, between Ty Segall on the Fuzz albums and Charlie Boyer of The Voyeurs, and it's just brilliant to listen to.

The whole of The Dawn has a distinctive individual atmosphere. It's sun-drenched, but mesmeric. It draws you in. Once you've listened to The Sound Of The Machine it's hard not to see the record out, right til it's end. It's hypnotic, like a Mazzy Star record, but nonchalant like The Stooges and it draws influence from all the right places. This is a more than accomplished debut from a band that will go on to great things.

Released: 3rd November on Fuzz Club Records
For fans of: Velvet Underground, Stooges, The Beatles during 1966, The Voyeurs
Hear the title track HERE and preorder it HERE

The Wands are touring the UK in November; they'll play London (7th), Hartlepool (8th), Glasgow (9th), Nottingham (9th), Bristol (11th), Manchester (12th), Liverpool (13th), Lincoln (14th) and Southampton (15th) (I'll be going to that one)