Music Review

Wednesday – Rat Saw God

todayApril 6, 2023 275 2

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By – Jason Hamric

For fans of Noisy Guitars, Kudzu, Small Towns, Working Class Heroes, Being Real and Hopes of Escaping

It was almost exactly a year ago to the day that a friend suggested I might like this band Wednesday that was playing down the street at The Firehouse, “They are kind of Shoegazy” they said which was enough for me to walk down and catch the show.  Little did I know that would lead to one of my favorite new bands.  Wednesday a band from Ashville North Carolina is made up of Karly Hartzman (vocals), Jake Lenderman (guitar), Xandy Chelmis (lap steel) and Alan Miller (drums).  They blew me away and I immediately bought “Twin Plagues”  their 2021 album.  I went straight home and listened all the way through – three times!  Wednesday reminds me of all the bands I loved and grew up with, while at the same time not sounding like any one of them.  Although it’s a little unfair to compare Wednesday to other bands, I might position them into a playlist with bands like The Swirlies, Early R.E.M., Ronald era Flaming Lips, Hank Williams, Sonic Youth, Appalachian mountain music, Pixies, Pink Mountaintops, etc.  They check a lot of boxes for me and that’s absolutely OK.

Following up a wonderfully unexpected album of covers by some of their favorite bands, Wednesday is ready to give us another gem.  Rat Saw God out Friday, April 7th on Dead Oceans is proving to be yet another step in what I hope is the beginning of a new, noisier Southern Gothic.  I live in the Deep South and I assure you that there is something magical and mysterious in the water. 

By now you may have heard the first single, an eight minute slap to the face -Bull Believer, and realized this band doesn’t give a f^&k about the rules.  Creating a collage of drug fueled outlaw country and video games over a nod to Daydream Nation, Hartzman’s lyrics add just the passionate and haunting edge that provides me with what I am ALWAYS looking for in music -honesty.  I believe she believes.  I still hear the guttural screams of “FINISH HIM” over and over in my head. 

 

Rat Saw God’s opening track Hot Rotten Grass Smell  kicks off with a heavy assault of guitars and feedback accompanied with plenty of melodic bends and Hartzman guiding you through as if it’s your only way out, and in true Wednesday fashion once it’s over you’re still jumping up and down wanting more.

One of my favorite tracks is Formula One. It showcases another slower side of the band, and feels like  that moment when you’re so tired but don’t want the day to end. Where your voice slowly gets quieter and eventually fades away into the night.  Accompanied by Chelmis’ haunting slide guitar and Lenderman’s harmonies, this song definitely gives you the feels.

Bath County musically sounds like some wonderful amalgamation of Sonic youth, Early Flaming Lips and a brilliantly familiar feeling pixies style slide guitar.  The band definitely knows how to do quiet/loud very well, and that kind of energy is contagious.  As with all of Hartzman’s lyrics you feel completely engulfed into her world.  Every daughter of God has bad luck sometimes.

The closing track TV In The Gas Pump was the last released single from Rat Saw God.  What seems like a stream of consciousness, this mid tempo perfect closer features a backing track of feedback that makes you almost feel how anxious and the monotonous being a band on the road can be.  If you’ve ever traveled in a van with your band or just been a kid staring out the window as pasture fences and power lines pass in waves you’ll get it.

What can I say, I love this record.  The songs on this record and the feelings they represent are exactly what it’s like growing up in today’s modern south.  Yes there are all the modern , but here they are combined with the bizarre remnants of snake handlers, kudzu covered buildings and dark places still untouched by time.  Wednesday has made yet another step further in their journey, and my only fear is that they are so good and have so many amazing influences that they might be plucked up and groomed to be the next _______.  In a time where most things are fully homogenized, hopefully Wednesday can continue to cut their own path and stay weird. 

 

Stand Out Tracks – Bull Believer, Formula One, Chosen To Deserve, Bath County and Quarry

Written by: jamric

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