Wil Wagner
I Hope I Don't Come Across Intense: Demos 2009-2015


4.5
superb

Review

by initforthelisten USER (2 Reviews)
September 29th, 2015 | 17 replies


Release Date: 06/30/2015 | Tracklist

Review Summary: "It's punk as shit or it's horrible, depending on how you look at it."

With the hesitation to obtain this particular collection of demos upon its launch, I recall with precision the surprise which hit me when the man himself was compelled to approach the stage only to apologise for the lack of copies remaining - that is, before the said material had even been performed. I didn't realise it then, but I do realise it now.

I Hope I Don't Come Across Intense, as clear from the title, is a series of demos written between 2009-2015, showcasing the raw talents of singer-songwriter (though "[he's] not a singer-songwriter and [he] never... will be") and The Smith Street Band front-man Wil Wagner. Hailing from Melbourne, those engaging with this review require little introduction to the man, for as he stated midst the aforementioned launch, "If you've come here tonight, you probably get it." Likewise, if you understand who he is, "you probably get it."

And such can be said of the list of material - recorded on a phone in backstage rooms with no consistent use of any specific guitar, the result of a somewhat irrelevant five-hour long drive, pressed(") onto tape and handed out to a room of mostly intelligent, drunk, cigarette-smoking, probably vegetarian hipsters with beards and "Smith Street" shirts. But despite the somewhat necessity of this contextualisation of Intense, pivotal to both the feel and atmosphere surrounding the tape, the project would stand as nothing without the charm of the artist and his sheer song-writing abilities.

From the introduction of the tape with 'Feel All The Feelings', the tone has been set; the mission statement affirms ostensibly simple though at times strong and wordy lyrics and metaphors seamlessly posited over the strumming of acoustic guitar. Wil rarely showcases his guitar-playing skills, though it would in fact deem a disservice to disregard songs such as 'The Way You're Put Together' as he displays some versatility in his playing. As it shifts from a lament of staring down beauty ("London Bridge at sunrise", "Tullamarine, 6:45") through "rose-coloured glasses" or inebriated senses to the revel in the person's outward beauties, so too does the song decelerate in pace with its chorus; the guitar drawls as Wil repeats variations of the same line - "I quite like the way you're put together."

Perhaps moments like these are most fitting to the analysis of the expression at the heart of the tape. For it's rather versatile in its subject matter, ranging from 'It', exploring the repercussions of an abortion as Wil daringly addresses this unborn fetus and comments on the decision of the mother; to the juxtaposition of God and Love in the aptly titled 'God/Love' so to illuminate a sense of the deep and "unattainable feeling" the narrator continues to seek. Ultimately, however, the whole tape seems to encompass a deep feeling of doubt, pessimism, concentering the implications of depression and the pursuit of happiness - perhaps far from a hedonistic sort of pleasure, but nonetheless a personal sort of search for triumph. With the pretentious perception of these songs as sort of successive vignettes to this theme, it's not difficult to draw some sort of significance from these tracks, all building up to the climax that is 'I Don't Deserve The Sun'. "If these morning moods don't subside, then I'll get institutionalized... tonight", concludes the entire tape, offering an ambiguous sort of hope or even hopelessness - an ambivalent conclusion to a compilation of demos which shouldn't be this cohesive.

But in the end of it all, should it be" Am I looking too deep into it" Is Wil Wagner merely so consistent a character, so honest and genuine a performer, that even a compilation of works spanning almost six years has the ability to constantly resonate wish such ease" It makes little sense, and that's all a part of its intrigue.

Indeed is I Hope I Don't Come Across Intense punk as ***.


user ratings (8)
Chart.
4.3
superb


Comments:Add a Comment 
initforthelisten
September 29th 2015


44 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

People still haven't heard this... It's frustrating though perhaps makes it that much more personal.

deathschool
September 29th 2015


21928 Comments


Forgot that I need to check this.

initforthelisten
September 29th 2015


44 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

yeah, I feel like I might regret it in a year or two. but it feels right at the moment. and thanks.

dimsim3478
September 29th 2015


7722 Comments


review doesn't justify why this thing is worth a 5 + i can't tell whether some of the grammatical mistakes (of which there are many glaring ones) are typos or genuine mistakes but good review overall

nabbed a copy of this from poison city a couple days after the show. do you know how many copies were printed by business casual?

initforthelisten
September 29th 2015


44 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

dimsim, i was a bit worried about that. and some intentional, some probably not, i'm hoping to improve my expression where i can.



and i'm not too sure, sorry, but he couldn't have been selling more than fifty to a hundred or so at the show, so i'd like to know, too.

ATARI
Staff Reviewer
September 29th 2015


22815 Comments


commenting to remind myself to check this

Digging: Amy Shark - Night Thinker

Arcade
Staff Reviewer
September 29th 2015


8498 Comments


Laika is a lot better than this so it can't be a 5

Digging: Godflesh - Post Self

initforthelisten
September 30th 2015


44 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

I disagree. I got sick of Laika much too quick. It was great, but this grew on me and has stuck with me for quite some time now. I'll regret the 5 eventually, but it feels right for now. Totally subjective.

initforthelisten
October 16th 2015


44 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

EDIT: I took it down to a 4.5 because it makes more sense and I feel more comfortable. Perhaps I succumbed to it, but whatever, makes sense.

deathschool
October 26th 2015


21928 Comments


So like. Where can you listen to this?

dimsim3478
October 27th 2015


7722 Comments


there's strangely no middle ground between buying the tape and pirating it; no digital sales, no CD or vinyl, no streaming. however, the tape came with a digital download code so here's the v0 copy i got from that:

http://www.mediafire.com/download/0h4pny1pkid111k/wags_demos.zip

jessmessicar
December 6th 2015


1 Comments


I have been looking for a download of this for so long so thank you!!!

BlushfulHippocrene
January 25th 2017


2064 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Dinosaur Bones is so good. Is this not available officially in digital form?

dimsim3478
January 25th 2017


7722 Comments


nope. only streaming (which wasnt available b4) or from the download code u get with ur tape.

BlushfulHippocrene
January 25th 2017


2064 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

No wonder there's not too many ratings. Glad I bought this.

Trebor.
Staff Reviewer
February 9th 2017


55387 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Why does this have fewer than 10 ratings?

Digging: Dad Thighs - The Ghosts That I Fear

dimsim3478
February 10th 2017


7722 Comments


cuz people dont rlly know about wil wagner solo stuff and also this release is even lesser known because there was like no marketing or promotion of it and i suppose few people woulda bought it anyway cuz its a fuckin tape.

i was down at a record store to watch menzingers acoustic recently and i think i mighta saw a copy of this actually still in stock there? not entirely sure



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