On his 2012 debut album as Naytronix, tUnE-yArDs-bassist Nate Brenner
explored the concept of “postapocalyptic robots” via the medium of Bootsy Collins-inspired funk.
In keeping with rock‘n’roll tradition, this follow-up focuses on the deadtime during touring.
Mercifully, it proves a self-pity-free meditation on the theme, exploring emotions of rootlessness by creating an atmosphere akin to lucid dreaming.
It works particularly well on ‘The Wall’.
Over the warmth of a syncopated horn sample, intricate hi-hat pattern and dancing bass runs, Brenner mourns “Never ever wanted to go,” later adding,
“I’ve been feeling so confused for a while now.”
The lurching bass line and pitch-shifted backing vocals on ‘Starting Over’ further illustrate that sense of disorientation,
while on the joyous, William Onyeabor-esque funk of ‘Dream’, Brenner beseeches, “Tell my mother I miss home.”
Brenner’s fluid approach can become meandering at points but, overall,
its message and sharpened emphasis on melody make ‘Mister Divine’ a more satisfying listen than ‘Dirty Glow’.
That sense of restlessness, of desperation to create, is palpable in Wand’s music.
For example, ‘1,000 Days’ eschews any kind of intro or establishing track,
choosing instead just to pile straight into an ascending set of rubbery chords that run away into squiggly synth work
within 30 seconds; a song that, on any other album, would be track six or seven.
Even slower, grander moments aren’t immune – second track ‘Broken Sun’ starts elegantly enough,
but it’s not long before a key change arrives alongside heavy-heavy sludge guitar,
followed by that most prog-psych recipe for epicness, the synthetic choir.
It’s a terrifically buffeting,
dense experience, being in such an everchanging,
almost haphazard musical space, especially given the relative brevity of Wand’s songs.
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