The Wands first sauntered into our earholes in 2012 with an EP called Hello I Know The Blow You Grow Is Magic, which really set a precedent for what the band would go onto. The band are authentically as weird as that title suggests, and on new EP Faces their sound is more batshit than ever. The band are probably my favourite psych-pop revivalists, with their 2014 debut The Dawn being one of my favourite psych albums ever, so boy! It was a relief to find this gem of a new EP in my inbox.
Opening and closing with what can only be describing as Metal Machine Music ambience, Living in a Dream and Outro bookend the EP with serene noise parts. But when you take away the intro/outro noise parts, you're left with an extremely concentrated effort that sees 4 amazing pieces of music. The songs on Faces sound like pop songs, dragged by replicants on a hike to The Void, The Crunch and stopping in The Twilight Zone.
The band sound their most chaotic on the frankly unbelievable Cosmic Sinners. Long sections of noise battle with an infectious, distorted guitar hook and vocals that sound like they've been retrieved from the abyss. Malignant, discordant, it's a burst of catchy psychedelic pop squished through the darkest of filters. On Between Heavens, they sound more dramatic, and more retro (in this case, it's a good thing) than on the whole of their debut; this tetchy nugget could be cropping up on any lost compilation of weirdo US garage psych, with its unashamedly raw and edgy guitar scraggles, whilst still maintaining the robotic vocals and echoes that route the sound of the record is the ever-stretching neverworld of the future.
As much as dystopic's a word a definitely overuse, Out Of Fever's tension and eeriness make it sound like guitar music for a future civilisation ravaged by darkness and nuclear war. Bionic organ sounds merge with dark sprawls of guitar to reach out to a darker plane than anything the Danes have reached previously. It winds on and on, into the abyss. Unbridled guitars make it sound more and more like an Ancient Egypt-style boat-trip to the after life, only with more guitars.
In a world where we're oversaturated with bands that appeal to us; i.e. if you're into psychedelia, there's a million bands for you, it can be harder to find something you love than it would be if there were only a few bands of that description. But you can sift through that, you can effectively reach the creme de la creme of modern day psych if you just cut out the turtlenecked middle-man and just stick The Wands on. Where The Dawn still ranks as one of my favourite ever psych records, Faces is every bit as good, genuinely furthering the band's sound, adding more colour in the bright parts, more dark textures to the ambiguous parts, and just making the whole experience even more transportative, more psychedelic, and more genuinely magic than ever before.
(Words: Cal Cashin)