Wishbeard | Vision Quest (KEXP Video)

Amid the claptrap and uniformity of the airwaves, I’m always thankful that we still have radio stations like Seattle’s KEXP, that introduce lesser-heard artists, giving voice to good music. KEXP posted four live in-studio tracks from local four-piece Seattle band, Wishbeard. The four tracks, “I Don’t Care About My Hair”, “Vision Quest”, “Strawberry ’79” and “Runnin’ Around” are from off the band’s 2013 EP, “It’s All Gonna Break”, and was even mixed by Erik Blood, who created one of my favorite records of 2012, “Touch Screens”. There were a few YouTube comments saying this band is like an The xx clone of sorts. That’s unfair, because their sound is really much different than that. I suspect that they only listened to the first track in the stream, “I Don’t Care About My Hair”, which does begin with a shy, muted kinda sound like The xx, accented with deep bass synth and airy spaced-out electric guitar. But the song also mutates into a syncopated, slow math-rock. Mechanical meets atmospheric. But outside of that track, The xx comparisons should stop there. “Vision Quest” and “Runnin’ Around” , perhaps the two best tracks, sound a bit more like Warpaint running into 80s pop rock. Gorgeous stuff. “Strawberry ’79” has that thumping bass feel of early U2 “Boy” mixed with some Factory Era and Beach House. It’s a blurred sound that seems to pit competing styles — steady percussion and nimble synth are highlighted by atmospheric,  impromptu resonant guitar with lead vocals that sound anywhere between Braids’ singer Raphaelle Standell-Preston and Hope Sandoval. — David D. Robbins Jr.

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