50 Unheralded Albums from 2011

Craig Wedren: WandCraig WedrenWand (Nerveland, 9/27/11)

Craig Wedren: “Are We”

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In the early and mid-’90s, impressionable alt-rock listeners were introduced to the quirky guitar hooks and breathy, fiercely belted falsettos of Shudder to Think front-man Craig Wedren. Since then, Wedren has spent a lot of time writing themes for film and television, and he released a pair of solo albums (one entirely of ambient tracks) in the 2000s. Wand is “official” followup to the 2005 album Lapland.

Over the course of this forward-thinking album, Wedren really shines by experimenting with structure within a pop context. If his vocals and idiosyncrasies didn’t tie everything together, each track might sound like a different band, and there are all sorts of guitar intonations to go with bleating and ambient synths, fuzz bass, and murmuring classical guitar. In all, Wand is a hearty dose of “dream post-punk,” with a healthy dose of pop surrealism and sneaky depth.

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