By Paul McAleer
Drag City Records
California’s Wand comes from a different time, staying true to their classic rock influences with each release through avoiding the cheap tricks the modern age offers. Plum marks a shift for Wand as it’s their first album featuring new guitarist Robbie Cody and keyboardist Sofia Arreguin, adding to the existing three members. Instead of frontman Cody Hanson bringing most of the material to the table, the songwriting process transformed into a collaborative environment relying on chemistry and improvisation from each member of the group.
The end result isn’t a shocking or sudden departure from Wand’s earlier work, but that’s fine because the music stays true to the type of record that’s timeless. Without the internet, it would be hard to say if Plum came out four years ago or 40. The record opens with “Setting,” beginning with a high-pitched drone like a time machine ready to go off. The title track follows with a focus on keys even though the rest of the album puts guitar riffs and solos at the forefront. The vocals from Hanson are reserved and soothing even at points when the instrumentation demands more. It works for the most part, but it’s hard not to want Hanson to unleash emotions that derail the psychedelic spectrum.
The album is full of standout tracks, including closer “Driving,” a song featuring Hanson at his most versatile, and “The Trap,” a slow burning heartbreaker reminiscent of Wilco’s Summerteeth in tone. Plum explores a handful of ideas throughout the album, offering something for every type of rock fan to enjoy, while solidifying each member as equally important to the band’s overarching success.Drag City Records, Plum, Record Review, Wand