by Tiana Feng
And the Wiremen is the project of Brooklyn-based songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Lynn Wright who is also a member of the cinematic orchestral rock band called Bee and Flower. Also in the group is former Sparklehorse guitarist/trumpeter Paul Watson (Michael Hurley), Pere Ubu bassist Tony Maimone (Frank Black, Mekons, Book of Knots, etc.), guitarist Jon Petrow (Cloudroom, Bee and Flower).
1. The Names
4. Pick Myself Up Slowly
6. In the Wall
8. Sharpen Your Knives
9. Before He Gave Up the Ghost
10. Queued and Waiting
The self-titled And the Wiremen album is a sort of “avant-rock”, a use of many elements of other genres into a sort of post rock work. You hear elements of funk, jazz, classical, indie, folk, pop, blues, afro-pop mixed in throughout. You’d think I was talking about something that sounds schizophrenic but each song is well composed and balanced. There’s colorful use of percussion used throughout with influences from Columbia and Brazil.
The album starts off with Names that begins as a jazz song with a trumpet underlining then transitioning into something more acoustic until all the crazy brass comes back again to dance with the simple guitar riffs. Sleeps keeps things slow with a bluesy laid back quality and sweet soft vocals by Lynn. The album picks up at Molina, an almost folk-rock track with some interesting percussion parts, cowbell?
Pick Myself Up Slowly reminds me of a 60s/70s classic rock piece with its repetitive and easy to remember chorus that you’re sure to catch on by the end of the track. Pineland is a short little clarinet solo and then In the Well hits you with a surprise, almost like you crashed or fell into this well. It’s definitely the fast-paced track of the album and one of my favorites. I just love the fun solo that happens around 2 minutes in.
Rayuela has the strongest influence of Brazilian music and its rhythms. The lyrics sound also like the reflect the great story of the same name (Hopscotch in English) by Julio Cortazar. Sharpen Your Knives is a playful track with a rhythm that makes me want to be an oompa loompa and bop up and down with my knees until it slows down on the next track Before He Gave Up the Ghost. Whenever I hear Queued and Waiting I can’t help but tap the table or wall or whatever seems to be closest. The underpinning rhythm is addictive. Lines is the perfect finish to the album. It’s a folk-like tune, reminds me of an Irish jig and I want to gather people in a circle and do a ridiculous dance.
Overall, this was my first listen to any work by And the Wiremen and they showed me diversity, and a love for experimenting with music in a manner that was effective and fun.