Compact Disc (CD)
Some metal bands take an established template, put their own spin on one piece of it, and get fairly successful results. Maybe that’s why Wishfield’s self-titled 2019 debut didn’t quite get the recognition it deserved: The Minnesota band doesn’t have just one thing they do differently. They’re nominally a black metal/shoegaze hybrid, but where most blackgazers use walls of guitar to give their songs cinematic sweep, Wishfield’s lo-fi production is closer to Guided By Voices’ cassette tape saturation than to any wave of black metal. Co-composers Nick Stanger (Ashbringer) and Andy Meyer (Rictus) don’t just play entirely fretless bass, but entirely fretless guitars; their never-ending slides smudge extra-weird distortion over every song. And while those songs are plenty dynamic, they don’t so much build as sling around, like a ship through unpredictable waves.
Standing at the prow is vocalist and lyricist Mariah Timm, who moves effortlessly between the kvlt shrieks that open “Something,” the Thom Yorke-y coos of “Shallow Heap,” and the glowing harmonies that float through the mix—she’s got a rare voice, sounding as good buried in the mix as she does piercing through it. Credit too to drummer Theo Galetka, who provides a strong yet flexible scaffolding to the band’s off-kilter sense of rhythm and volume. Wishfield might take a few listens to grasp, but try starting with highlight “Three Seconds (Radio On),” with a cruising beat and sing-along hooks that sound like a ‘90s rock hit from some alternate universe in which My Bloody Valentine were as big as Nirvana were at the time.