Album: Wednesday – Twin Plagues review

by Philip Moss

Blowin’ away the cobwebs: Wednesday turn up their amps and the emotion on album two

As the music industry has evolved (regressed?) over the last few years, sadly, it’s felt very much like we’re moving head first into the ‘death of the band’. With studio and touring costs making it hard for acts to keep the balance sheet in the black, it is much easier for artists to record at home, and hit the road as a solo project. But Wednesday very much break the mould – a gang of brothers and sisters in arms – making raucous rock music born out of their parents’ garage. 

The video for lead single, Handsome Man, captures their vibe perfectly. Yes, there’s a cheeky playfulness. And it’s a collectivism seen in their personalities that is replicated by the way their music wraps around songwriter, Karly Hartzman’s words. There’s a bit of Stephen Malkmus’ guitar wizardry in there on Cody’s Only. And a nod to the country music that Hartzman adores in the storytelling on Ghost of a Dog. 

But there’s a darker side too. The opening title track growls with guitars akin to the treatment Steve Albini gave to Nirvana on In Utero. It’s present in Karly Hartzman’s ruminating words – on the dirge of The Burned Down Dairy Queen she concludes, ‘I never really know what to think of my life.’ And it is present when, out of nowhere, Cliff, unleashes into its unexpected roar.

The difficult second album isn’t so much swerved as leapt over by Wednesday: Twin Plagues is everything that was great about I Was Trying to Describe You to Someone, but with the dial turned up to eleven. Passionate, emotional music – plugged directly into the heart.

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