The Wans, from Nashville Tennessee, are a three piece rock and roll band formed only a few years ago. I have been following them for over a year now after stumbling across them through social media. In such a short space of time The Wans have already supported bands such as Pearl Jam, Beck and The Black Lips. As vocalist/guitarist Simon Kerr comes from my home country Northern Ireland, Derry to be exact, I have been eager to hear this album for a very long time and I‘m happy to say it does not fail to impress.
Their debut album “He Said She Said” grabs you by the balls right from the off! Opening track “Never Win” starts off lively. With a pounding driving rhythm, frantic riffs and melodies, explicit lyrics and with Simon Kerr’s smooth higher register vocals it certainly sounds fresh, vibrant and this continues straight through the whole album. It never lets up. “You’re Wasting” has a deep heavy sound. The drums are huge from Mark Petaccia and works tightly with Thomas Bragg to provide a commanding, pounding, driving rhythm with chunky riffs from Kerr. This is awesome.
“The Holy One” continues in much a similar vein, and it takes me back to the garage/grunge days of the early nineties and puts a huge smile right across my face. “So Cruel” mixes more punk into the sound and again the driving drums and bass are a joy to behold through this. It feels tense and like something is about to explode and give at any moment but it never does.
“Turn Your Back” is a more complex mix of sound. The drums are still driving but the rhythm has more structure and layer to it. With subtle sound effects, and added element of what sounds like a woman’s high pitch chanting vocal in the background. It is not as grunge or punk like the majority of the album is but perhaps has a more British alternative rock feel to it with bands such as Muse come to mind when I listen to this! The grunge quickly returns with “Take Me Back”. The distorted guitar sounds fantastic on this, coupled with Kerr’s meandering vocals that explode during the chorus. It is a natural raw energy that resonates over and over. This one would be fantastic performed live.
As a whole the whole album is superb in its own right but I believe The Wans save the best three tracks to the end. “I Can’t Fix You” is the most energetic track on the album and would kick ass performed live. It is a solid balls to the walls rocker that literally explodes to life. I have to point out on this track and the other tracks on the album, the background vocals from Petaccia and Bragg are top notch and bring a fantastic overall sound that gives the tracks so much oomph it’s contagious. “Tired” is a dream with it’s huge chorus and melodies but the last track “Black Pony” is a real gem and sounds like classic rock and roll spliced with Nirvana grunge. It really is an epic track with more infectious distorted riffs and driving drum rhythms and bass that rips right through you. I just had to repeat playing this track over and over again. BMW liked it so much they used this track in one of their advertisements! It is an explosive way to end the album and the main highlight in one of the most energetic albums I have ever heard in a very long time.
I did already mention this album never lets up but I will say it again. It’s song after song of high explosive energy, pounding drums, infectious tight bass grooves and huge chunky distorted riffs that go straight through you. “He Said She Said” pulls you along on one huge musical high from start to finish for 35 minutes, you will want to keep playing this album over and over again. The musicianship is tight with each band members contribution clearly heard thanks to the mighty fine production, as always, from Dave Cobb (Rival Sons, Jason Isbell) and mixing by Vance Powell (Jack White, Arctic Monkeys).
This album is made to be played loud. Blasting through car stereo speakers or at a party, it can’t be used to quietly play in the background. There is no getting away from the fact that “He Said She Said” Incorporates much of the band members influences of early nineties garage/grunge infused with classic rock and roll and punk. There are however other elements and I even detect some classic British influences. Bands like Nirvana, Soundgarden, The Clash, The Jam, Led Zeppelin spring to mind when listening to this.
I have no doubt The Wans would fit in well to the music scene over here in the UK and in Ireland, and I’m sure the rest of Europe, heck even the world for that matter. These guys should get noticed very quickly and I eagerly await and see what comes from The Wans in the future. This is undoubtedly going to be one of my top albums for the year and I recommend anyone who likes loud, raw, energetic music to purchase this album immediately. You will not be disappointed! Simon, I raise a pint of Guinness to you!
1. Never Win
2. You’re Wasting
3. The Holy One
4. What I’m Feeling
5. So Cruel
6. Turn Your Back
7. Take Me Home
8. I Can’t Fix You
10. Black Pony
The Wans “He Said She Said” is available now
All photos courtesy of Jason Lee Denton
The Wans are:
Simon Kerr – Vocals/Guitar
Mark Petaccia – Vocals/Drums
Thomas Bragg – vocals/Bass