Most of you may know that Craig Wedren was the lead singer of Shudder to Think, one of the seminal punk bands of the ’80s and ’90s. What you might not know is that he has also composed the theme songs and incidental music to countless TV shows and movies, including Reno 911, The State, Wet Hot American Summer, Role Models…basically everything David Wain has touched. So, it makes sense that his new solo album, WAND, is basically the soundtrack to an accompanying movie of the same name — even though the album came first. Unfortunately, as fantastic as Shudder to Think was, and as wonderful as the TV shows and movies his music is in are, WAND is less than overwhelming.
The album feels like a soundtrack. Songs jump genres and shift styles over the course of the album, which shouldn’t be a problem, if only it succeeded. Instead, there’s a lack of cohesion that makes for quite a disjointed listen. Moving from the bass heavy “I Know” into the NIN-esque “Don’t Tell” works well, but moving from “Crush You”, which sounds like a Shudder to Think castaway, into the string orchestrations of “Fall In” fails to connect.
Where Wedren is strongest is on the more punk-oriented tracks “Rectory Girl”, “I Know”, and opener “Crush You”. The rest of the songs tend to feel incomplete, which is odd, seeing as most of the 16 tracks here are under three minutes. Perhaps WAND would make more sense in the context of the full video setup that goes along with it. You can view the videos (which are pretty cool, 360-degree interactive works) on Wedren’s website, but not every song has a video to accompany it, so, yet again, it leaves the audience wanting something more.
Essential Tracks: “I Know”, “Rectory Girl”, and “Don’t Tell”