Column: Wander’s new album shows their strengths

Ryan Meyer

I’m not usually one for preordering albums, but the upcoming release of California post-rock band Wander’s album “HOME” has me considering the investment. The songs they’ve released in 2021, most notably “Unwind,” have reignited my passion in the band and in playing guitar.

“Unwind” features a conclusion more impactful than any I’ve heard in a long time, and they impact the listener so strongly without any lyrics or vocals. Around the halfway mark, the distortion pedals kick in and the type of guitar shredding that appeals to me takes over the song. It’s not the blues-based shredding average music listeners have come to expect from guitar players, but rather a beautiful display of technical skill and understanding of the technology available to the guitarist.

The members’ instrumental prowess comes across so clearly in this song that there is little doubt in Wander’s ability to deliver an emotional and adventurous song armed with nothing but their instruments. Their songs often can be interpreted for classical music because of the movements and shifts in tone and mood throughout one song. A listener could easily find themselves enjoying a specific part in a song that is long enough to be its own short piece. The fact that their third album, “March,” is almost 52 minutes long but only contains 6 songs is a perfect example of this.

I was first introduced to Wander through an Audiotree performance on YouTube. Their performance of the song “March” was particularly enthralling as it showed their passion for the 9-minute song and the way they still managed to maintain their technical parts even while thrashing around the small studio.

“March” is the song that comes to my mind when the term “post-rock” is thrown around. I’m familiar with the history of the genre and aware that there have been acclaimed bands in the past 30 years that act as the ancestors of post-rock, such as Slint or Mogwai, but the torch continues to be carried by bands like Wander.

The introduction of the song in particular caught my ear with the slow guitar that comes in first followed by the enveloping chords that display the mastery of the effects pedals in front of the guitarists. The pedals provide a texture that, in post-rock fashion, break the mold of what guitars are meant to sound like.

The band has recently announced plans to livestream full performances of all three of their albums, and according to a January 4th Instagram post, Wander intends to livestream the creation of the upcoming album.

 

Ryan Meyer is a sophomore journalism major. He can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]