The Wagner Logic - The Wagner Logic
Record Label: Self-released
Release Date: July 6, 2010
First things first. Why in the world Alaskan band The Wagner Logic chose to release a15-song sophomore disc remains to be seen, but if the adage quality over quantity still holds true, then the frigorific foursome have indeed crafted something worth coming back to. Though there are some warts, there's enough precision, passion and polish to win over the most cynical of critics. This one included.
The disc's opening one-two tandem, "Waiting for Snow," and "The Drugs and You," set the tone right away. The former features a drug-induced haze and scissored guitars that sound definitively Mancurian.. In the very first seconds, there's a palpable sense of maturity and sophistication that trumps the band's previous effort Easiest To Grab by a wide margin.
The duo hits their most comfortable stride on "Years From Now" a whimsical, off-kilter slice of college-rock that possesses a jittery, raw energy that hasn't been chased down on previous releases. Vocalist James Glaves' yelps and guttural screams are married with Jeremy Wagner's feathery vocals to create a quirky and buoyant composition.
After a 68-second guitar interlude, Glaves and Wagner return with "Faded Slackers," which marks the album's first true disappointment. Though the song's emotive conclusion is a high mark, the rest of it just feels askew. It's not as if the song isn't well-executed or creative, it just doesn't have the staying power of the earlier three. "This Number Isn't the One," follows and offers more of the same. Good composition, but no staying power. Come on boys, cut the filler.
Thankfully, the quieter "All in Good Time," follows and allows the duo to show off their introspective and vulnerable side. That it's also one of the album's true peaks is no coincidence. The duo is certainly gifted and has a firm grasp on their talents, but some times less is more and the restraint felt here is a true testament to this band's potency. "Do You Think It's Your Leg?," follows the same formula as the earlier exercises but feels weighted down and borderline boring here. "Little Motel," another breathable exercise returns to the restraint of "All in Good Time," but chases down something a bit quirkier.
The filler track "Oh Please, Oh Geeze," follows and it's at this point, that the entire listening experience feels like a chore. "Sick Sylvia," is a groove-based jam with cooing vocals and a sexiness that is both urgent and inspired. The entire exercise though revisits the question as to why a song like this hadn't been inserted earlier in the track listing. After another hiccup, the messy "You Had a Right To Be," the band finds success in the languorous "Late in the Day, " featuring slow-churning vocals, layers of gauziness and airy female harmonies; and the funereal "Yesterday Evening."
Though the disc definitely lacks consistency, there's still something undeniably appealing about the effort. While it is certainly long-winded and a bit foolhardy in places, The Wagner Logic still remain one of Alaska's most original, most refreshing and most noteworthy bands. Long live Seward's Folly.