To pin down a band like Wires on Fire to one specific genre, you have to be the penultimate master of lies and bullshit. While I pride myself on my ability to come up with a real solid amount of the latter, there’s simply no way to pigeonhole an act like this. Buddyhead has a real interesting group on their hands, and Homewrecker is as schizophrenic a release as I’ve heard all year, this one and the last.
From the strumming of the first discordant notes and the simple drum pattern it's evident that this album isn’t going to be anything ordinary. The band's singer has two very different and two very distinct personalities. On the one hand, his delivery is sung in a very drawn out, groove-driven manner, but on less than a moment's notice, he spazzes out and shreds the very lining of his throat with each and every word. Just because he picks up intensity, however, doesn’t mean the rest of the band follows suit. And that’s what’s interesting, as they seemingly operate completely unaware of each other, but through some strange twist of events the two parts coalesce without incident. The melodic undercurrents below the outbreak of screaming in “Learn to Drown” sound terrific, but it’s instances like those that make it seem like the singer and rest of the band weren’t necessarily on the same page.
This tiny bit of indiscretion doesn’t ruin any of the overall flow, however, and the more the album goes on the less this is even an issue.
The off-kilter, jagged instrumentation in “Daisy” seems to be far more cohesive than the last track, with vocals and music actually aligning themselves to the same flow, and you can tell immediately. When the singing picks up a more hectic vibe, the bass becomes thicker, the guitar fuzz louder, and the playing of both just faster overall while maintaining a real bouncy, fun rhythm to it all. The drummer also takes on a much more prominent role as each song progresses, with a lot of his fills being integral to the overall sound and feel of a specific track. Things tone down considerably after “Daisy,” offering a lot of heavy, methodical riffing rather than the spazouts that dominated the first few songs. The vocals may not be as intensive, but you’d be hard-pressed to say the speedy soloing at the end of “Desert Sun Desert Moon” wasn’t something to rave about.
Spanning a vast array of the musical spectrum, Wires on Fire have a perfect sense of balance, and there’s simply not a viable comparison for them out right now. Equal parts discordance and atmospheric, in a very crude sense, the band bends and distorts genre lines in such a way that you’d never know they existed in the first place.