With the minimal instrumentation of post-punk as their framework, The Wants inject the hypnotic pulse of Detroit techno into the practice of pop songwriting. Led by Madison Velding-VanDam’s elusive duality of personas, which oscillate between earnestly romantic and unsettlingly deadpan, The Wants naturally forge a dark alley off the beaten path into danceable dissonance. Velding-VanDam’s vulnerable lyrics sometimes foray into the sardonically biting, reflecting the complex cycle of self-reflection of the current generation, while drawing from sources like the satire-of-power in Jenny Holzer’s “Inflammatory Essays,” and the midwesternheart of The National’s frontman Matt Berninger. Anthony “Shake”Shakir’s “Frictionalism (1994-2009)” and John Beltran’s “Ten Days of Blue”drew Velding-VanDam into the lush soundscapes and entrancing mood of electronic music.
That the album’s polished sound was capturedin the band member’s respective bedrooms and rehearsal space —a repurposed HANJIN shipping container situated in the middle of a dumpling factory parking lot —is a testament totheir attention to detail: Velding-VanDam is a seasoned bedroom pop auteur, and Gates has a wealth of studio experience (Debbie Harry, Angelo Badalamenti, Lykke Li, My Morning Jacket). They recruited pop and hip-hop engineer Jeremy Cimino (J. Cole, Pharrel) for his ability to give their rock instrumentation a fuller sound that explicitly differentiates it from the ubiquity of more genre-abiding contemporary indie recordings.
The Wants’ debut full length “Container” is a meticulously self-produced art pop record, combining elements of post-punk, synth pop, and minimal techno. Opener “Ramp” is as pensive as they come, title track “Container” a deadpan meditation bound by a winding low pulse, while -atop a synth pop rhythm track that wouldn’t feel out of place on a Depeche Mode record -Velding-VanDam’s earnest and deceptively disarming lyrics on recent single “Fear My Society” tell the story of a man who realises that the standards he lives by are no longer relevant. He feels alienated by the changing world and propagates the fears, principles, and rituals in which he feels he has irreversibly invested his life.
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