WIVES - So Removed - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

WIVES - So Removed

by Jim Cunnar Rating:9 Release Date:2019-10-04
WIVES - So Removed
WIVES - So Removed

Sometimes when you aren't expecting it, you get the pleasure of stumbling across a sound that you know the instant you hear it, will be huge.  The sound has to be familiar yet new, not rehashed but built upon its influence.  It can't be copied but has to respect where it, the sound, comes from.  Queens, NY based WIVES, on their debut album So Removed, has crafted a sound that is going to fill music halls, bars and wherever else they want to play with fans who love noisy, smart, distorted punk rock. 

WIVES, consisting of Jay Beach (guitar/vocals), Adam Sachs (drums), Andrew Bailey (guitar) and Alex Crawford (bass), draw from so many influences you'll keep finding new sonic angles with each listen.  Opener and first single "Waving Past Nirvana" is a churning grinder of a start.  Beach's vocal is a maniacal mix of James Murphy of LCD Soundsystem and Woody Allen at his most neurotic, overlaying driving bass and distortion-drenched riffs that would make the songs namesake band proud.  Listen again, and again, and again, because the song is so nuanced you'll get something new with each listen.

After the assault of the opener, the album crashes into the anthemic "The 20 Teens", a hook-laden 80's-infused rocker. Beach transforms on this song, becoming more Bowie with a touch of Nick Marsh (Flesh For Lulu), crooning/oozing the lyric "Reading all the magazines, in dungarees" which smashes headfirst into an Arctic Monkeys driven chorus of "The 20 Teens will come alive". The song is spectacular and massive to the point where you can't help but sing along. 

"Servants" sees the guys bringing their love of Doolittle-era Pixies to the world.  "All the people, they go blind. To be servants to the right", followed by the snarl "Who you serving?" is true 21st century punk. The defiance on this song is reminiscent of the Sex Pistols at their pinnacle, punching their commentary right in the listener's mug. 

"Hit Me Up", the second single, is the biggest and baddest song of the album, loaded with so many chord changes you feel like you are listening to three different bands tossed in a blender. Opening with a guitar riff reminiscent of The Cure's "One Hundred Years", it melts into a bridge of Iggy Pop and The Stooges and a pre-chorus full of Cheap Trick power chords, ending in a chorus which is a Frankenstein's monster of all three sounds. It's a brilliant song. 

As So Removed moves along, it shows some redundancy, parking some of the lesser tracks in the back half. "Whatevr" is a surf punk frolicker, full of rapid-fire hi-hat beats and harmonies. "Sold Out Seatz" falls flat, a failed attempt at a shouted chorus that is more to blame on the song's production than the crafting.  "Even The Dead" and "Workin" having similar beginnings, but "Workin" builds into a wall of distortion and bass lines blasting your face.  Wrapping with appropriately synth-heavy "The Future Is A Drag", Beach challenges the listener to sing along with him, a touch which shows confidence beyond his years. 

The more I listen to So Removed, the more amazed I am by the maturity of the writing.  The songs have big, well-crafted melodies, with biting lyrics and loads of attitude. This simple recipe is the reason I am certain WIVES are going to hit the jackpot. They know exactly where they come from, where they are, and where they are headed.  We all are going to want to come along for the ride, I guarantee you that.  

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