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Wand
1000 Days Peter Bebergal , October 14th, 2015 09:06

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When I was 12 I found a copy of The Key of Solomon The King at a New Age bookstore. The book is a medieval grimoire filled with complicated rituals for conjuring demons and decorated with magnificent sigils. Soon after, just as I was discovering my erotic self, I came across David Bowie's Diamond Dogs and played it obsessively. Please, if you would, imagine that bespectacled stringy-haired 12-year old wannabee wizard with a perpetual boner poring over the names of demons and their attendant seals while 'Chant Of The Ever-Circling Skeletal Family' plays over and over again and you will know all you need to about the quality of my imagination and why Wand's new album 1000 Days hits my nostalgic sweet spot. I just wish it did so as potently as their last effort, Golem.

There is nothing wrong with nostalgia when it is turned into something artful and original. 1000 Days is not shy about the past it revels in. But unlike my reminiscing, Wand makes you think you know what their sources are until you try to actually pin them down. Bowie is summoned, as is the first edition of Advanced Dungeons & Dragons. A Black Sabbath circle is drawn, but so is the entire Nuggets collection. What manifests is none of these things except a giddily eccentric piece of contemporary rock and roll.

Wand's last album Golem helped them turn the corner from a fairly generic psych band to being a group that had almost too many ideas. That album is one infectious song after the other, and despite the obvious evolution in their musicianship retains a raw garage sensibility. 1000 Days is even more assured, and it often veers into being overproduced and losing that essential 1970s DIY role-playing game spirit. Nevermind songs with titles like 'Grave Robber' and 'Dungeon Dropper' - two of the best on the album. What makes this album more than just one of the current examples in the deluge of occult-tinged 1970 throwback bands is its mercurial nature. It's one thing, and then another, even though it is all of a type.

And yet. And yet. 'Morning Rainbow', the last song on 1000 Days, is a peon to Lucifer, as if we need another one of those. But like the rest of the album, it works because by this point, if you have made it this far, you are seduced by their grimoire. Here are strange and wonderful sigils, weird names of demons, and the impossible rituals that shouldn't work. Wand would do well to go a little deeper into the secret archives next time. I understand the desire to want to keep looking at the same musty tome that first inspired you, but there is no need to tread water when the currents you are following run deep.

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