US - Arizona - Full Moon 195 - 08/02/12
Wizards Of Time
Will The Soft Curse Plague On?
Hidden Shoal Recordings
A few moonths ago I was blown away by Wizards of Time's "Little's Jingle", the amazing first single off this, their debut album.
It's art-rock, it's prog-pop, and it's a conceptual album. To quote Hidden Shoal: 'They are the music makers, the makers of music,
the slingers of sound. They are the Wizards Of Time...'
Will The Soft Curse Plague On? has got 18 tracks on it, of which 6 are short, instrumental 'intermissions' call 'plagues' ("Plague 1" through "Plague 6"). This
leaves 12 regular songs, and producer/engineer Scott Solter (who's been working with a diversity of acts, such as The Mountain Goats, Superchunk, Okkervil River, Mike
Patton, Fred Frith, Zeena Parkin, John Vanderslice, etc., as well as being a member of the delightful duo Boxharp) has steered the
Arizona gang's wild and wonderful ideas through the studio maze. Wizards of Time (WOT) is lead by head-wiz and visionary front man Andrew Hiller. The quintet has been
playing together for 4 years in prior to this debut, refining the songs to their own satisfaction I guess.
At first I need to listen to "Little's Jingle" three times in a row. What a cracker bonbon of a song! It's a dizzying, spellbinding, and almost unearthly composition.
And it's a song which can easily leave you disappointed when hearing the rest of the songs. Yes, that was what happened. I was disappointed. Until I realised, hey,
Will The Soft Curse Plague On? is probably an album that needs some time. Let it spin, let it grow, let the songs mature and ripe. This is complex music, holding
layers upon layers of sound and texture. One by one the songs start to reach out, to stretch out, to stand out. Not as the blistering, sparkling "Little's Jingle", but
simply as good songs forming a solid album. That said, the album doesn't seem to become the amazing album I was hoping for. It's solid and fine and entertaining.
If you need some references to pin near WOT, Hidden Shoal say: '...think The Flaming Lips covering Animal Collective in magnetic
tape, Christo style.' The Flaming Lips is a good name to drop. So is the Polyphonic Spree. Or Mercury Rev, when David Baker still was the singer. When I reviewed
"Little's Jingle", I also mentioned MGMT and Grizzly Bear, if you could possibly imagine the two of them merged into one. If you don't like reference points, forget/erase/delete
the last two sentences and check out Will The Soft Curse Plague On? yourself. There are plenty of songs to keep your interest throughout the album several times.
Apart from "Little's Jingle", try "This Just In", or "Hands On Praying Man", or "Ode To Bravo", or "World Wide Holiday", or the closing "Fluorescent Beaming". I guess
they're wizards after all, just give them some time.
Copyright © 2012 Håvard Oppøyen