The self-titled EP from Wahrus is an excellent blend of art-rock, dance grooves, and prog. Each member of the band gives a powerful performance, and the songwriting is very clever and well thought-out.
"On And On" opens the album with a telegraph pulse of electric guitars before a funky Talking Heads groove is established. The song then evolves to heavier guitar harmonies and when the vocal enters again there’s a new melody and a Franz Ferdinand-esque repetitive vocal. The bridge is a dream-pop excursion, and the guitar solo reaches into prog-rock territory. All of these genres are seamlessly blended together, letting the song evolve naturally but contain many different influences within. It’s a clever technique and harder to pull off than the band lets on keeping the energy and development interesting throughout.
The rest of the EP keeps that same energy and interest. "Seaside City" begins with an Eric Johnson-like virtuosic guitar excursion over a triplet groove before the vocals enter. The song has some great guitar harmonies throughout and a strong vocal. It breaks down and builds up extremely effectively giving a great sense of dynamic progression. Knowledge combines a ska-like pattern with some processed art-pop vocals. The guitar solo leads the band through a great build and when the vocal returns, the band is playing the initial groove with slightly more intensity, a subtle move that works well. It finally concludes with a few modulations before landing.
"Brazen Beat" and "End Of The Line" have System Of A Down-ish vocal elements over stoner rock pounding. In "Brazen Beat", the elongated notes of the vocal play nicely against rhythmic presence of the band giving a smart dichotomy between the sections and making the fusion work nicely. As per usual, the guitar solo is stunning both in tone and content, and there’s some nice counterpoint between the ascending and descending guitar lines in the chorus. "End Of The Line" interpolates monstrously heavy drums and power chords and shredding guitar. The song moves into a neo-Classical instrumental section before the final chorus. "Controller" features some nimble guitar runs over a dance-y sixteenth note hi-hat pattern. The lyrics are clever and delivered with force. The song ends by changing from the disco-ish rock to an 80s heavy metal movie montage and is an effective coda.
Overall, the band is extremely talented. The songs combine many influences but mix them together in a way that makes the sum of the parts stronger than each individual one. Wahrus is edgy, danceable, smart, and fun.
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