Wand – Ganglion Reef
Just when I think I’ve reached a point where I seem to be teeming with enough lo-fi garage rock, Wand comes around with their debut album Ganglion Reef to let me know that you can never have enough. Cory Thomas Hanson and company from L.A have won me over with their simmering and psychedelic rock music that they’ve crafted on their impressive ten track album.
Though admittedly Ganglion Reef took me a little bit of time to wrap my head around; it didn’t immediately catch my attention, but faded into the background of my multitasking. It wasn’t until the last two tracks that I somehow caught on that this group had something special they were giving out. The second to last track, “Growing Up Boys” is a subtle song, reminiscent of Dr. Dog via the vocals. A soft combination of vocals, acoustic strumming and a brooding bass line carries the song while these lines of what sounds like high-pitched synthesizer strike through, cutting the track with the psych elements. It’s a gorgeous song, with Hanson’s vocals soaked in reverb giving it a hazy glow and you just have to let it hit you with its waves of sound.
This mellow take on the garage rock genre works well for Wand, but then again so does the straight up rock and roll. Last, but certainly not least in value track, “Generator Larping” has buzzing guitars to the max and Hanson dropping into a falsetto voice that is somehow even hazier than the proceeding track. The result is great ending to the record, and these two back-to-back tracks will surely spark your interest and send you back to the start if you hadn’t already been hooked on the way, which is easy to get when you give this record your full attention or a second spin. Tracks like “Broken Candle” have catchy choruses that will get you moving, but also full on guitar solos that follow them with garage rock goodness.
Ganglion Reef is a psychedelic trip into another world from start to finish, but takes a bit warming up to if you don’t fully fall into the hazy waters the first time around. Keep falling for and with Wand… I sure will.