WEDNESDAY – ” Twin Plagues “

Posted: November 6, 2021 in MUSIC

I like to stumble towards a band with no agenda, no purpose, uncovering sound almost on accident. This is how I first heard Wednesday. The band came to me and I don’t remember how, or why. They simply arrived, as if we’d been traveling toward each other our whole lives. I Was Trying To Describe You To Someone soaked into my summer of 2020, and in sound, in spirit, in central concerns and the execution of them, it took me back to an era before the current era, The past can feel less hellish than the present if we are, sometimes, not fully honest with ourselves.

I love “Twin Plagues” first for its songs, plainly. If you, listening to Wednesday for the first time around or even the second time around, stumble onto this album, I promise you the songs will be what grab you first, beyond any of my foolish high-level emotional theorizing or projections. Every band that loves the pursuit of their craft the way this band does is one to follow, because getting to sit on the side lines and watch them level up is a real generosity. “Twin Plagues” is overflowing with hooks, but what most delighted me about the band from the start has taken a leap: they have managed, somehow, to get even better at structuring their noise from one movement of a song to the next. The idea of the “song” itself is flexible in their hands, so much so that each song holds two, or three songs within. This, again, generosity. “Cody’s Only” is a ballad until it begins to threaten a storm of volume, and then, in its final act, it becomes something else altogether. “One More Last One” is a shoegaze-y trip that swells and swells until it overflows, but it doesn’t stop. It keeps offering and offering and offering. I say “noise,” and never in a dismissive sense. Everything has a place, and so much of its place is to serve the true heart of this album, and the true heart of Wednesday’s music, which is allowing cracks through which tenderness can enter and exit as needed. Tenderness that, it seems to me, is always wrestling underneath whatever else might be happening on a song’s surface.

“The Burned Down Dairy Queen” when Karly sings I was hiding in a room in my mind / and I made me take a look at myself. Because if you, like me, have been avoiding mirrors – both metaphorical and real – this is where the album becomes a lighthouse, echoing bright across the darkness of my otherwise dark and empty chambers. So much of these songs meditate on the past in far less romantic ways than I have found myself meditating on the past, and I was desperate for the recalibration that this album provided. I was desperate for making myself less blurry in my own memories and reckoning with my full, multitudinous self. The self that was once unkind, or less gentle, or less curious than I am now. I needed this album to remind me to embrace the fullness of my unfinished nature, the years I have lived and – with any luck – the years I have to go.

Wednesday’s music feels like an exorcism, an attempt to burn away Karly Hartzman’s most haunting memories in the searing noise of Jake Lenderman’s fuzzed-out guitar. Or perhaps it’s more like a seance — because some ghosts, like the slight Southern twang in Wednesday’s gnarled shoegaze, never really leave you. Wednesday’s sophomore album “Twin Plagues” is an aching, bittersweet reminder of the past, drawing from indie rock’s history while charting a course for their own future. 

So, yes, the songs are good. You will maybe roll down your windows on a comfortable day on the right stretch of road in a warm season and turn the volume up when “Birthday Song” gets good and loud and sing-along-able. You might sit atop a rooftop at night, closer to the moon than you were on the ground, and let “Ghost Of A Dog” churn and rattle you to some nighttime realization that you couldn’t have had in silence.

But, even on top of all of this, on top of all the pleasures and the mercies that the sounds on this album might afford. I hope and think, too, that it will remind anyone who listens that we are a collection of many reflections. All of them deserving patience.

Released August 13th, 2021

Vocals/ Guitar: Karly Hartzman
Guitar: Jake Lenderman
Lap Steel/ Vocals on “One More Last One”: Xandy Chelmis
Bass : Margo Schultz
Drums: Alan Miller

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