The Wans – He Said, She Said – Album Review

The Wans – He Said, She Said – Released September 9, 2014

The Wans are probably the best band you haven’t heard of yet. Their first full length release, He Said, She Said, continuing in the vein of their earlier EP, is a smoky mix of distortion, rock, and throbbing punk. I don’t know how they do it, but they soothe and electrify the soul all at the same time, bringing back the sensation of vintage rock and mixing it with a thorough ass-kicking of well-designed irreverence and grind. Here, listen:

If “Black Pony” doesn’t put this band on the map, the music industry is truly going to hell.

Maine Music News knew there was a full length CD on the way from The Wans, and to be honest, I was apprehensive. What if the boys in the band didn’t bring the vitality and crashing power of the initial EP? Let’s face it, we’ve all been disappointed with follow up efforts, haven’t we? Shame on me for not believing, music lovers. He Said, She Said, released September 9, 2014, is just as hard core, just as lovingly distorted, and just as full of rock hard sultry grooves and angst as the earlier work. Only Better. The Wans nailed it with He Said, She Said.

Only a few short years old, The Wans are Simon Kerr on vocals and guitar, Mark Petaccia on drums, and Thomas Bragg on bass. Working from Nashville, The Wans have been embraced by the rock and roll power house media set as a heavy hitting band that is going somewhere and have already opened for Pearl Jam and The Black Lips. Produced by Dave Cobb (Jason Isbell and Rival Sons), He Said, She Said has been highly anticipated for good reason. There is a simplicity here and a courage that runs through the music – Kerr’s vocals, the driving rhythm work, the distortion, you name it – that keeps The Wans raw and wild, but there is nothing haphazard here. This is infectious.

There isn’t a dull moment in the ten song line up. Everything The Wans brought to this release is good or even better. They kick out the walls with the rocking, explicit, driving beat of “Never Win,” and just keep at it. “You’re Wasting” gives a strong rock opening that proves dissonance can indeed be soothing when well done. Kerr’s vocals slide through the mix, pleading. Following up with “The Holy One,” we are treated to a mix of subtlety and strength that erupts into a driving beat that defies you to sit still. “What I’m Feeling” pulls you in as the composition ebbs and flows, bulding.

Next is “So Cruel,” and The Wans shift a bit to create a vintage, backroom, rock show beat with the attitude of punk and the kick of the great UK rock bands. Shifting even more, “Turn Your Back” is driving drums and expansive, building and weaving a fresh, smooth texture. This is radio friendly and hosts a great guitar riff. “Take Me Home” gives us a glimpse of the band’s depth with a touch of theatrical, carnivale tone reaching up through the heavy beat and bass of the song.

Contagious and perhaps the gateway drug for soon to be Wans fans, “I Cant’ Fix You” is straight up fun punk, guitar, and hook. This one will stick in your head just like it did mine. Enjoy. “Tired,” lamenting and pounding, just proves that distortion can make you feel better and those drums? More please. Bringing He Said, She Said to a close is “Black Pony.” I hit repeat at least eight times the first time through the CD for this one. You will, too. BMW picked up the song for a commercial but really “Black Pony” is a lot sexier than that car.

The Wans’ He Said, She Said is a CD you don’t want to miss. If you crave that strangely soothing wild energy of a smoky bar and a driving beat, follow this link and buy the CD, load it up into your play list, sink into the groove, and smile. You’ll be a believer.

About the author

Ann James Joles

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You’ll know her when you see her – Ann is probably the only person at a live show scribbling down notes and guarding a camera case. With a long time career in higher education behind her, she is more at home at a rock show with screaming fans than in an office.