Reviews:: First Nations Wand

When I first heard Victoria’s First Nations - known to his family and business associates as Derek Janzen - I was blown away by the intricacies and reach of his bedroom symphonies. He refused to limit his compositions, adding surprising textures to even the most standard melodies, somehow challenging and exciting the listener at almost every turn.


That’s why I wasn’t that all that surprised by the larger sound the band (Derek recruited three friends to help thicken the mix) introduced on Wand. Instead of hushed bedroom confessions, Derek’s yelpy vocals hint at grander visions and fit nicely with arrangements as suited for live venues as private headphone listening parties. The mix of chimes, banjo and guitar that dance around the intimate “A Light Is Above You” is as warm and comforting as a flannel sheet (and ensures fans of early efforts by the band won’t be lost), but when the foursome put the pedal to the floor on tracks like slow building “Ferocious King” and “Royal Blood” you can easily envision how the roof could get blown off a gritty bar when the band takes the stage.


What ties all the songs together is Derek’s unique and malleable voice. When needed, he pushes his voice to the point of cracking, almost in a Wolf Parade like frenzy (sans apocalyptic conspiracy) but can control a more organic, rootsy riff with an almost Gord Downie delivery. No matter what direction the band moves - including the epic pop nugget “I Cut Off Both My Hands” that closes the record - Derek’s vocals fit perfectly and the results ooze talent. That’s why Wand captivates the listener for every note of the 50-minute affair.

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MP3:: First Nations - Ferocious King



Tags: First Nations

This entry was posted on Friday, January 7th, 2011 at 10:16 am and is filed under 2010, 2011, Canada, Music, Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

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One Response to “Reviews:: First Nations Wand”

Wand review on Herohill! « Lazer Moses January 7th, 2011 at 2:48 pm

[...] Just thought i’d stop by to say that my new album, Wand, was just reviewed on the mighty Herohill blog! Go check it out HERE [...]

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