by Matthew Crain
Lingerie. Bundles of greenbacks. Spirits bottled and smokeable. –There’s no telling what compliments the modern music reviewer may find in his mailbox. And when he perchance must open his door as he did in January to do his duty and Shovel The Snow From His Sidewalk and there came an old red Moto-Guzzi with spikes on the tires driven by a young woman, an impressive sight in a serpent-green sun dress, who tossed him a padded envelope–that got buried under a stack of private detective correspondence course test booklets.
The seasons change, suddenly it’s spring, and just at the very moment he had a bead with his slingshot on the bullhorn atop the ice cream truck idling outside his window and blaring “Music Box Dancer,” the ghost of Irving Tochlin (original owner) came up the creaky stairs and kicked over the booklets, and there on the landing lay the envelope with the CD of the band from Bernardsville, New Jersey.
And I put it on and–bam–“Seeya, Mia/Wouldn’t wanna be ya” has become my new earworm. “Will you stop tapping the bed frame and shaking your feet!” certain people have rolled over and cried. And I just smile in the dark and say that I can’t help it: blame the Wig Party beat.
Now. Just as even cowgirls get the blues sometimes, so do depressives who wouldn’t dare take Faith off their turntable and shrug off all excited reports of the blooming world outside; every now and then they get happy and smile and open the curtains, even, because, of all things, of a bunch of rock ‘n’ roll. And here I’m talking about Wig Party’s new EP Glass Girls. (www.wigpartymusic.com)
I know it the moment I hear it: the organ playing way up high, the drums kicking down the street with not a care in the world, the bass all beard and white teeth, the electric guitar tick-tick-ticking along with its double-stop chords–The Groove. The Groove that The Grateful Dead and The Allman Brothers gave the world is alive and well and wearing a beehive in Wig Party. The rhythm section is just tight enough and just loose enough to have what we call “chemistry”: each stays out of the other’s way, the sound is clean and vivid like a Persian rug–a silk rug, to be exact, all neon orange and teal and crimson and white–and congrats to Mr. Tom Camuso and Mr. Anthony Krizan who mixed it.
But what really makes this band are the vocals both lead and backing. Charles Kirby sings like an ecstatic Cat Stevens, he’s kind of a poet and has got a lot of things to say, especially on “Blue and Green” with its refrain “Wondering and waiting/Never-ending changes,” but I’m just as knocked out by Hank Rosenthal’s high harmonies. And what smooth guitar playing from Vincent Ventriglia and his semi-hollow Epiphone. Would you believe the riff began as a counterpoint exercise in a music theory class? “It’s in 15/4,” he said in an email, “but it still sounds round.” I’ll say it does: I could swirl round and round and down and down into it with nary a thought of surfacing just like the bees are now doing in the throats of the daffodils.
Most of the songs last over four minutes and this lets you feel how eager Wig Party is to stretch out into that groove. Leave ’em wanting more is their m.o. But lucky you can get this elusive More on May 5th when they play in Easton at Pearly Baker’s.