Going into Wand’s Plum I was expecting a bit of the usual Ty Segall-inspired garage noise, much like what was on the three previous records(Ganglion Reef, Golem, 1000 Days.) Playing with both Segall and Mikal Cronin, Hanson does have a little of both hard-wired into his musical DNA. While there are moments where the weirdness of Emotional Mugger and harsh feedback of Twins rears its noisy head, Plum sees Corey Hanson and company attempting to make a sound all their own. Mixing 60s garage with a more pop flexibility this is a record that stands as its own beast altogether.
After a little noise, “Plum” opens the record with a jaunty piano and Hanson sounding like Thom Yorke doing his best Ty Segall while letting his pop side show. It’s a catchy track that seems to let some quirky tendencies show mid way thru with some grating feedback. The background vocals come in and I’m reminded of the great pop band The Owls from Minneapolis. Next up is the guitar-heavy “Bee Karma”. The guitar riff almost brings to mind 90s alternative figureheads Stone Temple Pilots and elements of Radiohead when they used to write catchy guitar stuff. “White Cat” is all post-punk menace as the guitars stutter in staccato shots as synths give it a new wave vibe. The drums are swift and the track has an almost progressive vibe to it. “The Trap” is the track where the dust settles and things become a little more tranquil. It sounds like something Hanson’s buddy Mikal Cronin might’ve written. It’s a pretty song, truly. “Ginger” is a quiet little guitar instrumental track with appropriate noodling and ambiance that gives the impression it was a moment caught in-between takes.
The last two tracks are the longest. “Blue Cloud” runs close to 8 minutes and comes together with guitar, piano, drums and bass. It sounds like Friend Opportunity-era Deerhoof with a jaunty togetherness. There’s elements of Allman Bros, Wilco, and even early Neil Young. It’s a great track that leads into melancholy and soul-driven “Driving”. Here’s where Wand distinguishes themselves from the cult of Ty Segall. They don’t sound like an arm of the Segall garage rock consortium more than a band putting their own stamp on the tried and true tradition of that thing we call rock and roll.
Plum shows Cory Hanson, Lee Landey, Evan Burrows, Robbie Cody, and Sofia Arreguin writing a new story for Wand. It’s a varied story where the world is at their disposal, and where they’re limited only by their own musical expectations.
7. 8 out of 10