8 June 2018
Old Man Wizard - Blame It All On Sorcery
Sometimes, things come into your life by accident. When you're doing a blog in the style of your humble writer (poorly), you sometimes end up with PR companies blindly sending you invites. To be honest, some of the things that come through the inbox are not my thing. Sometimes I get a nice surprise and sometimes, I get a curve ball. One such speculative email I received over the last few months was from San Deigo Rockers (with a capital R, very important), Old Man Wizard. Now, I've heard of these guys before, played them on my radio show and I've always enjoyed the style and passion of the band. When I last played them on my show (Attention Please on NE1FM), it was after Childish Gambino. This might not seem like an obvious pairing, but it's one that makes sense in my mind.
Old Man Wizard formed in 2011 and their second album Blame It All On Sorcery was released on 11th May 2018. This is their second release, following up to their 2013 release, Unfavorable. I would like to talk about the cover of Blame It All On Sorcery before I begin looking at the music. This is a very simplistic and haunting image, the burning of an unfortunate soul on a pyre, a mass of hooded figures gathered to watch their demise and the skies turning grey. It might not be as complex as an Iron Maiden cover, but it's still a striking and thought-provoking image. Especially when you think of the political witch hunts of the modern era, but it could just be that the band liked the image. Anyway, enough about that, how does the album sound?
The first word that comes to mind is vintage, closely followed by retro. This is an old school heavy rock album, with a new take on that old school sound. Songs like "Cosmo", the galloping "The Blind Prince" and the frantic "Innocent Hands" are all throwbacks to a different era. But they are not exact copies of existing songs, they are freshly formed ideas that sound fantastic. They have taken a look at sounds which inspire them, given it a twist and released it upon the world! They also bring out the acoustic guitars when required, such as on "Somehow", but it's not a ballad to melt the heart. The music just requires that sound, it might not work as well with an electric sound. I like that, it shows that the band have given thought to their craft and they've not just kept their musical pallet to one style.
Over the course of the ten tracks that make up Blame It All On Sorcery, Old Man Wizard keep things basic. Nothing is over complicated or OTT, even when the songs have a fantasy edge to them. This works for me, rock music is not something that should always be a complex beast, sometimes it's best to leave it basic, natural and untainted by modern tech. For example, the fuzzy sound to the production of the final track "The Long-Nosed-Wiseman" is spot on. It adds a sinister feeling to the song, it would have sounded shite with an 80's polish. There is also a spaghetti western atmosphere to some of the tracks, but that is just something that automatically comes to mind when you band photo looks like this:
I love it when albums arrive in my inbox such as this. It's been a long time since a classic rock album has caught me by surprise. Not a huge surprise, they said they were a Rock band, the cover scream Rock band - rock 101. However, Blame It All On Sorcery is a Rock album that will please both old school and modern rock fans in equal measure. Old Man Wizard have not gone out to re-write the rulebook, they are out to make some memorable music and they have certainly achieved that. If you're at all interest in Rock music, get this record!
8 out of ten - Oh, now you have my attention and maybe my time, money and heart
Top track - Innocent Hands
You can purchase Blame It All On Sorcery on the Old Man Wizard Bandcamp page here.
You can purchase Blame It All On Sorcery on Amazon here.
You can follow the activities of Old Man Wizard on Facebook here.
You can stream Blame It All On Sorcery on Spotify here.
You can stream Blame It All On Sorcery on Deezer here.
You can stream Blame It All On Sorcery on Tidal here.
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- Fatoumata Diawara - Fenfo (Something To Say)
- Old Man Wizard - Blame It All On Sorcery
- Father John Misty - God's Favorite Customer
- Turnstile - Time & Space
- Eels - The Deconstruction
- Amorphis - Queen of Time
- Skindred - Big Tings
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