Wives (PA)
Wives


3.5
great

Review

by Aziz STAFF
January 21st, 2013 | 12 replies | 1,105 views


Release Date: 2011 | Tracklist

Review Summary: So fall in line, or pay the price.

It was 7 years before Wives dropped this brief EP that they released their only other material, a 30 minute tutorial in unyielding, youthful ferocity and boisterous discord entitled Erect the Youth Problem. But where Wives’ debut was an organic and crude cacophony of a lo-fi punk-hardcore dance, driven and intensely charged by a rebellious vocalist screaming proverbs formed of youthful defiance and soapbox fervor, Wives seems to be a different beast entirely, and in just about every regard. The production is actually palpable; on pretty much every track the glossier (this term is incredibly relative – it’s not Kurt Ballou produced, but it’s not nearly as opaque as it was on Erect the Youth Problem) production is almost immediately noticeable, adding a more refined element to the music that makes it more smoothly digestible. Music-wise, the emphasis on scathing, throaty assertions of the adolescent spirit has been severely mitigated, and the previously disjointed and occasionally misguided instrumentation has found direction and cohesion. The near decade between releases has aged the band quite a bit, but on their eponymous EP, Wives have very clearly crawled out from the same toxic lake of murky, dense acid from whence their first foray found life, dripping with the thick, grimy guitar tones and burdened by the calamitous, thrashing drums that their raw debut comprised in an unfortunately underwhelming capacity.

Album opener “Sick Fetish” sets the tone and pace for Wives on the EP, opening with a dense, slow-churned pseudo-riff that introduces a different, harsher element to Wives’ sound – the band isn’t quite so reserved; the drums crash thunderously and there is prominent down-tuned guitarwork, while vocalist Dean Sprunt’s previously tempered punk shouts have devolved into an unapologetic and frenzied howl, leading the band’s departure from its patently punk vibe in favor of a coarse, almost experimental hardcore edge. Pigeonholing aside though, Wives brings a more musical sensibility to the group’s sound – there are actual melodic atmospheres and fret-changes to be found here, and the more dynamic sound makes for a quick and enjoyable listen. But where the first two tracks offered some semblances of calculated melody amongst their bombast and undeniably charming cries of “I will kick you down the stairs” and “We want more, we get bored” that almost certainly serve as crowd-belting live show centerpieces, “Tough Love” is a much less controlled flame, scorching through the dry, thick brush of the rumbling, abyssal guitar and barking drumwork with negligible abandon as a black, heavy smoke of densely layered backtrack envelops the now claustrophobic chasm and impairs all senses until only the belligerent, barbaric roar of “I don’t care about what you know, you should only speak when spoken to” derisively echoes throughout the charred hollow. It’s the band’s most definitively hardcore production, in every sense of its forever-obscured meaning, and it’s the easy highlight of Wives’ “new” sound.

Given the dearth of new material from Wives, there are only a few gripes that hold their latest EP back from being an exceptionally strong release. The first and most obvious one is a qualm that most reviewers seem to have with bands that take a considerable amount of time between releases (it should be noted here that the boys in Wives spent several years making music with other groups between their two releases as Wives, which perhaps lends this argument a bit more potency), that there isn’t enough evidence that the time has impacted the sound in any commensurate capacity. Furthermore, if there is any maturation that has occurred in the seven years between Wives’ releases, Wives didn’t give us nearly enough material to observe a significant evolution or any perceptible musical advancement. The EP showed little more than a mild proclivity towards a slightly less discordant sound and a sharper instrumental input, and the group is still making the same statements they were making in 2004, but although the band’s dabbling in new musical territory isn’t necessarily anything indicative of a transformation or musical transcendence, it does seem a bit more focused and is certainly a less tedious listen – and when it’s on, it’s really on. And actually, the only time it doesn’t seem to be “on” is during album closer “Pink Triangle”, which harkens back to the group’s old sound and is a return to form of sorts, but it ends up being an overlong and drawn out instance of Erect the Youth Problem that ends up being more dull than affecting in its rigid musical framework and empty bluster. But despite these minor, contentious missteps, Wives is a fun and strong hardcore release that, despite its brevity, brings a bold taste of what could come next for the band.



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user ratings (4)
Chart.
3.6
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
GnarlyShillelagh
Staff Reviewer
January 21st 2013



5968 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

For the review a random album game.

I tried out some imagery which I've never done before tbh, hope it all worked out well... Thoughts/criticisms/comments greatly appreciated.

WeepingBanana
January 21st 2013



10035 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

"production is almost immediately noticeable"

try to avoid words like "almost" or "seems like". write with certainty

"there are actual melodic atmospheres and fret-changes to be found here"

not too sure what you mean here. i mean fret-changes as in more than 1 note is being played? did that surprise you?

great review though, i listened to this when it was submitted cause it was short so why the fuck not and i thought it was pretty cool. thanks for being one of the good ones and submitting a review! have a pos

GnarlyShillelagh
Staff Reviewer
January 23rd 2013



5968 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Thanks for the feedback man, much appreciated.

With the almost thing, I meant that it takes a few seconds to realize that the production is better, but I see what you mean about writing with certainty in general.

And yeah lol the previous album had a lot of times where the guitar would just be stagnant so it was a little joke on that.

Did you have any reaction to the images I tried? I was mainly concerned with them seeming out of place or awkwardly written.

GringoSuave89
January 24th 2013



1009 Comments


good review, pos.

sounds interesting, if underdeveloped. is it worth a listen?

Digging: United Nations - The Next Four Years

clercqie
Contributing Reviewer
January 25th 2013



6309 Comments


I should get into this, it seems.

Nice review man. A bit wordy at times, but you really go in-depth and your descriptions of the sound are nicely put.

Digging: Sully - Blue

GnarlyShillelagh
Staff Reviewer
January 27th 2013



5968 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Thanks for the feedback guys!

GringoSuave, yeah it's only a few minutes long (9 iirc) and it's pretty enjoyable, so yeah definitely
worth it to hear imo.

You can stream it here if you don't feel like dl'ing (though it's also a free bandcamp dl):
http://thepinktriangle.bandcamp.com/



GringoSuave89
January 27th 2013



1009 Comments


gave the first track a go, and I'm really digging it. downloading now.

GnarlyShillelagh
Staff Reviewer
January 28th 2013



5968 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Cool, cool. Lmk how you like it, IMO the third song is the best

GringoSuave89
January 29th 2013



1009 Comments


Yeah the first and third tracks are the best. Fourth isn't bad, but the second bore me. All in all, really dug it.

londoncalling457
July 22nd 2013



2590 Comments


not that many people listen to this band on here, but just so everyone knows...the wives that recorded this ep are from pennsylvania and an entirely separate band that put out 'erect the youth problem' in 2004. that band was from los angeles and had the guy from no age, and also broke up in 2006. however, if you listened to this ep and enjoyed it wives (pa) put out their first full-length today and you can download it for free or name your price.

http://thepinktriangle.bandcamp.com/

GnarlyShillelagh
Staff Reviewer
July 23rd 2013



5968 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

well that's certainly interesting

oltnabrick
July 23rd 2013



30026 Comments


Hardly




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