Indie rock is alive and well with the Asheville, North Carolina band Wednesday. On their sophomore album, Twin Plagues, the quintet turns up the amps and make a glorious guitar fueled album that is driven by vocalist Karly Hartzman. The band still uses their shoegaze skills found on their debut but now takes the distorted fuzz to a new level as both the guitar and Harzman’s vocals get a much brighter spotlight.
The record actually starts off with what I would consider a continuation of their previous work as the title track is a very heavy handed shoegaze song with its smoldering build up of feedback before Hartzman comes in and helps push the song along. Its whirlwind moments of reverb are the perfect transition as the record moves to the next track. When “Handsome Man” comes on – you immediately hear the group’s evolvement. Hartzman is now in the front seat as her vocals hang on their own between the big seesawing riffs. “Burned Down The Dairy Queen” is next and walks a slower pace with a big crashing instrument finish but I hear more early Liz Phair than My Bloody Valentine. These small tweaks to the formula create a much more engaging record compared to their debut.
Twin Plagues has a new indie feel to it with lyrics that pull you in as Hartzman fits into a contemporary bunch like Stef Chura, Katie Crutchfield and Courtney Barnett. The guitars can be crushing at times which I really like because Wednesday can flex some serious muscle and the album is better for it. Wednesday shows a bridge between shoegaze and indie rock on multiple tracks here but while on the ballad “How Can You Live if You Can’t Love How Can You if You Do” the band inserts a little bit of twang that not only shows another side to the group but is a stand out moment on Twin Plagues. Wednesday is an easy band to get behind if you like your guitars to crunch. The band is extremely confident on all 12 tracks and leave you with the exciting thought that there is more where that came from!
Key Tracks: “Handsome Man” / “Toothache” / “How Can You Live if You Can’t Love How Can You if You Do”
Artists With Similar Fire: Cherry Glazerr / The Beths / Speedy Ortiz
-Reviewed by Thomas Wilde