These days, it’s hard to stand out in the world of indie music. The genre has become over-saturated by faceless bands who sound identical to each other. However, as newcomer Wizards of Time proves, there is still some innovation to be found beneath the surface of the mainstream. Its debut LP, Will the Soft Curse Plague On?, is a fascinating record, thanks to consistently engaging and unique production.
The group hails from Phoenix, AZ and consists of Andrew Hiller, Michael Porter, Lorne Mills, Jon Blair, and James Hanna. While no influences are cited (that I could find), there is a lighthearted tenderness that brings to mind Death Cab for Cutie, Coldplay, Emanuel and the Fear, and The Dear Hunter. Overall, the quintet complements standard pop songwriting templates with plenty of unique timbres and techniques, ensuring that every moment is attention grabbing.
Will the Soft Curse Plague On? begins with a highlight, “Chief of Sinners.” Electronic dissonance transforms into a lush arrangement of melody, sporadic percussion, charging guitar chords, and delicate keyboard accompaniment. Each second of the track (and the whole album) bursts with passion as each member dedicates every ounce of musicianship and emotion they possess to their performance.”2nd Son” is a more varied and playful affair where the instruments interlock with each other in a frenzied and eclectic puzzle.
Another standout track is “Ode to Bravo.” Beginning with an explosion of guitars and keyboards (that never let up), the lush zaniness and quick tempo make for a wonderfully bombastic time. “Plate Tectonics” is an obvious choice for a single due to its gripping vocals and starry, affective presence. The album closes with “Fluorescent Beaming,” which is essentially an acoustic guitar ballad decorated with light piano and natural sounds (including crickets). It’s rather subdued compared to the rest of the album, but that’s what makes it the perfect ending.
Wizards of Time have crafted an impressive and original sound on Will the Soft Curse Plague On?. It’s clear that they spent a lot of time arranging the music (which is easily more diverse and complicated than your standard pop songs) and ensuring that the whole album has a nice sense of cohesion. The bar has definitely been set for their sophomore release, and they’ll have quite a challenge following up something this special.