Due to release on March 1st via Headless Queen Records, March by Wander is the first LP for the San Francisco based quartet as they launch onto the post-rock scene. Accompanying them in studio was familiar Bay Area producer Jack Shirley, known for his work with other regional music acts such as Loma Prieta and Punch.
The self-titled track and 1st song from Wander, “March” makes apparent its post-rock influences, with moments of similar sounds to All of A Sudden I Miss Everyone (2007) by Explosions In The Sky (never a bad thing!). The LP improves though as the band seems to gravitate towards their own, distinct, natural sound as the album progresses. This is evident immediately on the following song “Faraway”, which melds an evocative indie-rock nostalgia with the experimental and sweeping shifts of post-rock instrumental music that help give the narrative of a coming-of-age movie.
The following track “Catch” continues the trend, flowing through sounds of heavenly ascension, intense morosity, encompassing a wide range of imagery and emotions. “Daydreamer” makes a hard push for the strongest track on the LP, with a gentle introduction giving way to the most diverse song on March. Early feelings of euphoria are shortly tempered by a terse G-sharp which gives the track a more grounded feeling at its outset but continues to trend towards an ‘inspirational’ sound for the final several minutes.
One mark of how pleasant the album is to listen through is the fact that that fifty-one-minute cumulative length of the six tracks feels over shortly after it began. Tracks such as “Parade” and “Eleventh” fit this mold, as your eyes and ears will have rather different perceptions’ on the length of the tracks’.
The members of Wander have quickly formed a strong, cohesive musical entity in which “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts” feels an apt description. While the percussion is impressive, and there are moments of beautifully composed guitar sections, there never seems to be too long of a spotlight on anyone. Although different genres, it is quite reminiscent of Sound Tribe Sector 9, who similar to Wander has no “star/virtuoso/prodigy” that they force onto the center stage but rather feels like an equal contribution from all members.