Wander – Glass

7 Production
9 Composition
8 Mood
7 Instrumentation

Wander’s Mourning LP from last year (or 2014, depending on how long you’ve been following them) made a huge impression on me, I listened to it nonstop for months, and I still have it in my regular rotation of post-rock albums. “Farewell” is among my all-time favorite tracks of any genre. Glass has a lot to live up to, and I think they managed to pull it off gracefully.

RELEASE DATE: 22 September 2017  LABEL: Headless Queen Records

Glass is just as accessible as Mourning, if not moreso. Immediately, you hear exactly what drew you into Mourning in the first place. Explosions In The Sky-esque twinkling guitars, thrumming basslines, and drums that are impressive as they are strong. “Softy” is an attractive song, pulling you into its melodies with the negative space between blasts of sounds, eventually leaving you breathless as it ends suddenly. As the album continues, it will occasionally remind you why you love them in the first place, and pleasantly surprise you with new tricks up their sleeve. The dynamics are deeper, they’ve spent more time in both the somber valleys as they do in the emotional heights reached in the climaxes. Their basslines are larger and take up more of your attention, it doesn’t follow the guitar as much. The drums are more technical and profound, the jazziness through reflects the fact that the drummer is not afraid of making himself heard, with his almost reggae-like snare tone. The guitars play against each other and intertwine beautifully, they have really grown and matured as a band.

I highly recommend you turn up “Magenta” and dig those beefy bass sounds. For two whole minutes, the track acts as though it’s leading you to a shimmery passage of scintillating guitars swirling around each other like dancing fairies, but it violently turns around into a slightly dissonant chorus, the band bearing its teeth, showing their full capabilities for surprising the listener and pulling off a violent turn of character that I haven’t seen many times before.

From the blistering blast beats in “Glass” to the infectious pop/dance grooves in “Apex” you will find they are skilled in many ways, all the while keeping the composition rooted in the technical post-rock you’ve come to know and expect from Wander.

For the most part, the production is top-notch, it’s a real step up from the rest of their releases. “Softy”, the opening track, tends to sound a bit muddied due to dominating mids that drown out the lead guitar. The strumming chords of the rhythm make the song sound monotonous than it really is. If you bump up the treble, you can hear the lead’s melodies better, making the song more enjoyable overall. But otherwise all the right sounds are there.

Much like Mourning, Glass has a primarily sombre aura to it. That aura is reflected by the cover, with the seriousness of the situation and dark ambience. There is a deep seriousness to the music, even you’re nodding your head to its contagious grooves. That solemnity is most palpable in “Breaker”, the album’s finale and climax. They go at it hard, and you can almost feel what they’re feeling as they project their very souls into their craft. 

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