Los Angeles quartet Wand
(vocalist Cory Hanson, guitarist Daniel Martens, bassist
Lee Landey and drummer Evan Burrows)
debuted as a highly derivative lo-fi fuzzed-out garage-rock worthy of the Sixties revival of the 1980s.
The highlights of Ganglion Reef (2014) are faithful imitations, but also intriguing mutations:
Send/Receive opens with two giant Hendrix-ian glissandoes, like tidal waves, before mimicking early Pink Floyd's space-rock;
Clearer mixes alien evil synths, Black Sabbath-esque stoner riffs and a naive poppy refrain;
the operatic aria Fire On the Mountain (possibly the standout) mutates into stoner-rock and then into a rousing instrumental coda.
The melodic peak is Flying Golem, which is also the best imitation of
the early Pink Floyd singles, while
Strage Inertia slips into the bubble-gum pop of the late Sixties.
Thee Oh Sees
built a prolific career out of the same idea.
Golem (2015) is less derivative of the Sixties but more derivative of fashionable styles of the 2015, six-minute panzer stoner Planet Golem
to the (gasp!) pop ballad Melted Rope.
1000 Days (2015) matches that desire to be more "up to date" with their
Hence they craft much more original fare, like the
sinister tribal instrumental Dovetail, the
galopping synth-heavy space-rock Grave Robber
and the synth-pop ditty Stolen Footsteps,
although still grounded in psychedelic garage-rock.
The stylistic range is broader than ever, from the theatrical power-ballad Broken Sun to the Merseybeat-style singalong with thundering guitars Paintings Are Dead (perhaps the best idea of the album, but way too brief).
Remnants of the old spirit surface in the
rave-up Lower Order and in the tribute to early Pink Floyd Sleepy Dog.
With a new guitarist (Robert Cody) and the addition of Sofia Arreguin on keyboard and vocals, they recorded Plum (2017), which definitely abandoned
the old stoner overtones. In fact, Plum is a simple childish melody
that could have been on the Beatles' Abbey Road (not a compliment).
The longer tracks further distance themselves from their roots:
the post-rock ballad Blue Cloud and the
solemn and catatonic country elegy Driving.
Laughing Matter (2019) is a confused album that experiments with the
rough pop-rock of Walkie Talkie and the
folkish slocore Evening Star (with a prog-rock coda).
The nine-minute Airplane is too relaxed and dilated to count as a song.
The music is further diluted by ambient and acoustic interludes.
The fuzzed-out six-minute Wonder comes as a breath of fresh air.