Wander - Home

30 Mar 2022 - Wouter

Post-Rock | dunk! Records, A Thousand Arms, Church Road Records | Release date: 18 Mar 2022

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The first explanation I can find for the term ‘emotional rollercoaster’ says the following: ‘a situation or experience that alternates between making you feel excited, exhilarated, or happy and making you feel sad, disappointed, or desperate’. I can shorten that substantially to simply “Listen to Home by Wander’. It sways, rocks, hits you when you least expect it and embraces you when you were preparing for emotional devastation. The beauty of Home lies in the unexpected so I recommend sitting down and just letting it wash over you. Preparing in any way is futile.

The anticipation for this records was really high, in part because the release was postponed form its initial release in 2021, to March 2022. After releasing three previous albums Mourning (2016), Glass (2017), and the very well received March (2019), us listeners were treated to three singles last year. Curious enough, neither ”Beyond”, “Unwind”, or ”Will” appears on Home. This year, in the run-up to the album release, the single ”Daybreak” was released, accompanied by a video.

Now the full release of Home is here and we get an idea of what the band have been up to musically. Wander is, and I quote: ‘an all Filipino-American instrumental post-rock band based in San Francisco Bay Area. Formed by brothers Ryan and Christian Francisco, Joseph Aguda, and Bernard Barcela’.

I certainly don’t seem to be the only one curious about this album. A couple of weeks ago, in preparing for this review, Wander were just hitting 400 listeners a month on Spotify. Now, little under two weeks later, this has gone up to a much more deserved 2.462 listeners a month. It once again shows how hard it is for bands to remain relevance with it’s listeners throughout the years, even with a respected catalogue as Wander has.

Maybe it is a faint resemblance between the San Francisco weather and the first hints of spring in Europa, but the timing of the record just feels right. The endless energy reverberating from the album seems perfectly in sync with increased sunshine and nature growing and exploding with growth and color around us.

Wander’s sound has been very distinctive throughout their releases. Home is no exception: It is clean and leaves room for every instrument to claim its rightful place in the composition. Additionally, Wander manage to be loud as well by overwhelming harmonics and effective use of rhythm guitar when an extra punch is needed.

When I compare Home with March, I feel the band has put even more in their songs now than they ever did before. They rely less on one theme to build on throughout a song, but use more progressions, tempo changes and melodic development. This only adds to the exuberance permeated by the songs. Also noticeable in comparison to previous releases is the production, which iss very good and specific productional elements are used to emphasize dynamic development in the music. A sudden acoustic guitar taking over the melody in ”Daybreak” and panning to the right for instance, keeps the listener on its toes constantly.

Please take the time to listen to this album. It is a fresh sounding record and to me, a welcome step off the beaten bath in the genre. It isn’t particularly long with 40 minutes and 44 seconds. But imagine being in a rollercoaster for that long, believe me, it is enough to leave you fulfilled and then some. When all is said and done, Home leaves the listener gasping for air and wondering where the hell to spend all that energy.