WAND: PLUM

September 20th, 2017 | Album reviews

WAND
Plum
Drag City

Between August of 2014 and September of 2015, the mischievous rock ‘n’ roll wanderers in Wand released not one, not two, but three albums that showcased not only their affinity for many different styles of guitar-driven music, but also their willingness to bring them together under one roof. In doing so, the L.A.-based band established itself as the most convincing genre-chameleon in the West Coast’s fertile garage-rock scene, able to play strummy acoustic folk, soaring psych-pop and earth-moving riffs with equal aplomb. Imagine the Beatles and Black Sabbath melted down together and you’re in the right fantasy world. Two years later, Wand is back with its fourth album, Plum, which finds the band reigning in their wanderlust juuuust a little bit. But this band remains nothing if not dynamic. To wit: “Charles De Gaulle” is a soundtrack to a kaleidoscopic daydream that’s somehow both fidgety and mellow at the same time, and “The Trap” is a gently beautiful ballad draped in pillowy choral vocals and twangy pedal steel guitar. But “White Cat” runs on a white-knuckled jumble of skittering drums, synth buzz and guitars set to blitzkrieg, while the title track starts out as a shaggy solo-McCartney-style piano-pop tune before mushrooming into a thorny tangle of electric guitars. Plum is impressive in its breadth, but still, Wand is at its very best when it steps on the pedal, as on the chiming, 8-minute guitar jam “Blue Cloud” and “Bee Karma,” a song with classic-rock swagger stuck in overdrive. It’s glorious, and so is Wand. May they never settle for sitting still.

—Ben Salmon

WAND’S PLUM IS AVAILABLE ON FRI. SEPT. 22 FROM DRAG CITY.