(Drag City)


Los Angelino psychedelicists Wand released their first three records in just 13 months, but have taken almost double that time to produce album number four. However, what initially appears to be an uncharacteristic delay reveals itself as a satisfying emergence of patience and maturity, and an enjoyable move toward rather classic songwriting and album construction.

Accordingly, where the band’s last album, ‘1,000 Days’, bounded straight into barrelling riffage and only let up half an hour later, ‘Plum’ opens with a neatly palate-cleansing drone, and also inserts both a mid-way interlude and a gently contemplative miniature before allowing the final pair of tracks, which take up more than a third of the LP, to spiral into the sunset. This sort of architecture not only makes ‘Plum’ pleasingly digestible, but also renders the intervening three sections more substantial, allowing the band’s improved songwriting to stand out: in particular, the counterpoint of the Beatlesy title track becomes a gorgeous surprise, there are welcome energy boosts found in the intensity of both ‘Bee Karma’ and ‘White Cat’, and the sighing melancholia of ‘The Trap’ and ‘Driving’ is as wistful as it is warm.

It all makes for an achievement that feels worth the wait: it may have had a long gestation by their standards, but in ‘Plum’ Wand have made their first true great.