Saskatoon’s dream-wave psych-surfers Wizards may have taken a hiatus, but its alter ego is here to fill the void in your heart.
Shirley & the Pyramids’ self-titled debut, which was released in May 2016, is mellower and dreamier than much of what we heard from Wizards, but the flowy laid-back feel is wonderfully familiar.
The six-song album opens with “Nothing is Real.” It reassuringly feels like the Wizards we love, but has more of a low-fi sound—if that was even possible. The vocals echo above the distorted wall of sound that marries sly synths, loose drums and… a flute? It’s a perfectly unexpected introduction to this new version of the band.
“Past Lives” opens with fast drums, quick guitars and more of a surfy vibe. It’s a feel-good tune that’ll get you up and dancing in no time. “All The Time,” meanwhile, offers grainy distortion in all its glory. The vocals are echoey to the point of being almost indistinguishable. It’s a strangely familiar tune that works well on the record.
Highly experimental, “So Free” feels like it flows seamlessly through different feels and genres. And, at exactly seven minutes long, it basically does. The track filters out to a quiet acoustic guitar, before building into a psychedelic grunge song, then turning right back around.
“No Direction Drone” is the perfect name for this closing track. It’s a swelling of noise that introduced me to the hypnotic genre. The sonic wave of synth keys builds and builds, and one layer after another slowly comes into focus over the course of the 13-minute-and-26-second marathon track.