EP Review: Wagjammer's 'The Signs'
Wagjammer are a folk-rock foursome from North Shields consisting of Wendy on vocals and acoustic guitar, Glenn on vocals and bass guitar, Jimi on lead guitar, and Michael on drums. As a band they’ve been playing together for three years, although their combined musical experience goes back nearly twenty years. Their debut EP is the culmination of that collective knowledge.
The first track is ‘Still Life’, an uptempo track that features a great drum intro and a clever use of guitars to support the beautiful vocal harmonies from Glenn and Wendy.
The lyrics almost contradict the cheeriness of the melody, with lines about feeling trapped and needing to escape, and the contrast makes it a very interesting track to listen to. It feels like it should be chosen as the title song to a sitcom pilot.
The second track, ‘Something’s Gotta Change’, makes extensive use of lead guitar and soft drumming to give the listener a melancholic experience. The lyrics follow on nicely from ‘Still Life’ with a statement about having had enough of the situation, and the musical arrangement lends itself to a feeling of being downtrodden and the frustration that goes with that. Wendy’s vocal work dominates the whole song, which suits the mood well. Definitely a good therapy song for those Monday mornings.
‘Katie What’s Wrong With You?’ is a song that is heavy on the bass, and with good reason. This is an angry song with lyrics such as “another time another place, a chance to rearrange your face” to go along with the prominent bass line. However, once again Wagjammer provide a beautiful contrast with an uptempo beat, jangly guitar, and excellent vocal harmonies throughout.
The title track, ‘The Signs’, is another song led by Wendy’s vocals. It finishes off the EP perfectly because it’s a song of optimism. Having been on a difficult journey with the previous three tracks being all about struggle and frustration, the lyrics here are full of hope and determination; “I opened the door and I let in the light, my luck is starting to improve”. The rhythm is strong and measured, using that strong bass line to give a feeling of walking tall.
Overall this is a collection of “life songs” that most listeners will relate to, and Wagjammer have delivered them in a well thought out style.
The Signs EP is available to stream for free on Soundcloud, and is a precursor for their debut album due for release in August 2018.