Laughing Matter by Wand [8/10]

LA band Wand’s fifth album “Laughing Matter” extends their journey into Can territory, indeed for the first few tracks I kept thinking I was immersed in 60s vinyl. Opening track “Scarecrow” begins with jittery drums and shimmering guitars anchored by pulsating bass and melodic keys, before Cory Hanson’s semi-falsetto kicks in to sing about nature: “The light inside a silver birch.” “xoxo” begins as a bouncy almost-pop song before lighting up into distortion. Over the hour-plus of fifteen songs, whenever the scratchy guitar screams into screeches, the effect is electric. Pastoral folk-rock songs, also straight from the hippy days, and woozy electronics-led tracks vary the mix. It’s a stunning, serious and immersive album that deserves recognition.

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