Wizards – Loser Surf Death


The title of the first EP from Saskatoon-based Wizards was initially a bit of a head scratcher, in part because I knew nothing about them. A few seconds into the opening track it was clear where the “surf” came from, and after hearing the rest of the songs it seems likely they are drawing inspiration from some psych bands which makes the title a pretty transparent acid joke. However, that was a post-listening revelation because after the next few seconds of that opener, “Hank’s Horn/Lunar Landing,” I didn’t give the damn title a second thought and just let myself enjoy the guitar, which sure sounds like the work of a Dead Kennedys fan. These guys rock, and are able to contort the conventions of surf rock without getting wanky about it. Although the songs all feature vocal work, it’s kinda got a Sonic Youth feel and is not at the forefront. For the most part, these suckers are delightfully driven by that spacey guitar and propulsive drumming. The band could probably pull off a simple instrumental surf-revival act, but they have great instincts for when to sprinkle a tune with some clever tempo change—a sludgy grind or hopped-up speed beat—and it’s fantastic to hear from such a new band. “Fisheyed” is a stellar track, and the noisy finish of “Days In” is a lengthy outro to an exciting disc. It’s almost like Wizards know what a good thing they’re onto, and were reluctant to let it end. I’m gonna love this disc lots and probably join this crew for the trip every time they roll through town. (Sound and Silence Collective, wizardmusic.ca/) Daniel Emberg

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