As the eerie space wind samples that precede Golem greet your ears, there’s a sense of trepidation and tension instilled, but its laced with magic and set to explode. Wand’s opening riffs are as merciless as they come, and take a firm grip on your malleable mind that refuses to let go for thirty five minutes straight.
Tube amps cooking hot and phasers set for the heart of the sun, Wand sound like Sleep on speed. The sheer power and noise behind ‘The Unexplored Map’ is enough to knock you straight through a stone wall, and it’s both terrifying and exciting that this is just the beginning of their nine track assault.
Sure, you could argue that there’s a somewhat saturated scene as of late, with any old Tom, Dick or Harry shouting the odds over a din of feedback and fuzz and calling it “psych”. But Wand are the antidote to these teenage dirt bags, standing alone in their own bold sonic dimension.
Tracks like ‘Reaper Invert’ and ‘Floating Head’ summon the kind of sludge you’d expect to hear oozing like molasses from the double-stacks of King Buzzo, while ‘Melted Rope’ floats up to newfound cosmic territories with delight, seeing frontman Cory Hanson’s vocal warble almost recalling that of Lennon’s, if he’d hooked up with Kevin Parker via some time travel assisted jam.
Wand’s display of fine sonic wares doesn’t stop there, though. ‘Cave In’s misleading riffs morph into a crazed double-time stampede of swirling noise that just cries for the volume knob on your hi-fi to be, not cranked, but yanked clean off in a frenzy of ear-bending glee. Shortly before namesake ‘Planet Golem’ stoops to Sabbath levels of dark doom rock before oscillating into near-speed metal territory.
Long after Golem has peaked, you’re left marvelling at a record that unites both the futuristic and the fantastical. Whether you’re a fan of medieval sludge and doom, or sci-fi synth mystique, Wand show no fear in blending the two together seamlessly.
Brighton via Canterbury fuzz peddlers, GANG, knocked our socks off with their screeching octofuzz prowess earlier this year, steaming past our peripherals with their electric new single ‘Silverback’. Upon delving deeper into their SoundCloud pages we found a treasure trove of mind bending noise, and managed to catch up with them to talk all things psych, and ask what’s next for this exciting new trio.
For those who haven’t heard your music before, how would you describe Gang in a sentence?
How, when and why did you three gentlemen come to be the Gang that you are?
We (Eric & Jimi) are brothers so we met when Eric was born. We met Joe two weeks before our first gig, and he stood in for another guy on bass who had drilled a hole through his hand. We kept Joe around for his perfect hands and his firm grip.
Is there one album/artist in particular that without, the band might never have come to be?
Ty Segall’s Twins was a big one for us because it opened us up to a lot of modern garage and psych music. Other than that we like a lot of different stuff – 60s psych/garage/pop (Gandalf, The Doors, King Crimson etc.), 70s Metal & punk (loads of Sabbath), 80s alternative rock (anything associated with Steve Albini like Slint and Pixies etc. and many others) leading into 80s/90s Seattle grunge.
There’s so much good underground music at the moment, probably because mainstream music is so dire right now. A band called Wand from California are tickling our pickles the most at the moment. We also listen to an unhealthy amount of stoner rock like Eyehategod, Electric Wizard and Melvins.
Your hometown has such a rich musical history, are there any particular Canterbury-scene bands you look to as influences?
Yeah, the way they all experimented with sonics was so sick. Joe’s dad was drinking buddies with Caravan, and Hugh Hopper from Soft Machine used to come round to Eric & Jimi’s dad’s little studio. We totally ripped Gong’s name by accident too.
So what made you up sticks from Canterbury and head south to Brighton?
Jimi had just finished his English Degree so the other two moved down after Joe got sacked for drinking too much tequila one night and rolling around on the floor. There wasn’t any music scene going on in Canterbury, though Margate in Kent started having some rad shows courtesy of Art’s Cool. We just moved down to be beside the seaside with our beloved drummer. That’s when we properly got our act together as a band because we were all in the same place, we hadn’t done much before that. That was exactly a year ago last month. Happy moving anniversary.
How would you describe Brighton’s music scene right now?
Everyone’s brothers in arms here, we all go to each other’s shows and have a jolly good time. Theo Verney, Fuoco, Tusks, Pink Lizards, Morning Smoke, Abattoir Blues, The Magic Gang, Demob Happy, Big Society, Kit Wharton, Munez and and probably loads of others who we can’t remember right now.
How do you like to write? Is there a sole songwriter amongst you?
Jimi and Eric both write the songs and then we take them into the room and disfigure them. Jimi’s singing lead on the new tracks he’s written which is sweet but unfortunately they haven’t been released yet. Creamy dulcet tones.
Tell us about ‘Silverback’, what’s the track about, and how would you compare the ‘Silverback’ sessions to recording Sandscrape last year?
We’re all apes, man. I (Eric) actually record all of our stuff at my dad’s little studio, so it was pretty much the same process though I’d learned quite a lot since recording Sandscrape. We also recorded a version of Silverback with our buddy Theo Verney that’s on the cassette as well and it’s delightful. It’s actually the oldest song we still play but we thought we should put it out there before it died.
Your ‘Silverback’ video is a true mind-melter, what is the most mind melting experience Gang have had so far?
Making that video with our roomy Chris Wade of Dogbrain Videos was very intense and beautiful. Apart from that we’re pretty clean living, straight edge, polite young hermits.
Rad! So lastly, what can we expect from Gang next?
We’ve got a lot of pretty extreme stuff we’ve just recorded which we’re really pumped about that will be out sometime this year. No release plans yet, though we’ll be sorting that soon. We recently left the south for the first time at the beginning of this month to do shows in Leeds, Sheffield & Cardiff (Swn Festival) too, and we’ll be playing some lovely festivals over the summer. Also, one day we will all be dead.