Wish: Wish

[2 September 2014]

By Zachary Houle

Wish Upon a Star

It’s hard to believe that Toronto’s Kyle Connolly is just 23 years old. Listen to his band’s debut eponymous album, and you’ll find a heavy psych rock sound that belies his young age. You know what Wish sounds like? Believe it or not, Yo La Tengo. Many of the songs on Wish have the same fuzzed-out sonic sprawl of a “Night Falls On Hoboken”, just much more truncated of course. And Connolly is a dead ringer vocally for Ira Kaplan. The resemblance is startling. So call this psych rock if you will, but there’s a dreamy indie rock quality to many of these songs. And the production is quite well done for an indie album of this nature. First song “The Days” starts out with feedback squawk, and you think that a turbocharged fuzzy garage rock track will emerge. However, while the sonic maelstrom remains, it is pushed into the background and a creamy sounding melody takes over. It’s quite heart-rending.

True, Wish can get a little too jammy at times. (At the end of “Francis In Space”, a song that’s really an extended jam, someone remarks, “What? That’s it?” and I have to wonder if that was an ironic statement.) However, there’s some really, really bracing material on Wish, especially third track “Slacker”, which sounds like it was virtually lifted from Electr-O-Pura. It is far and away, hands down, the best song on the record. However, saying that is doing a disservice to the other songs, because Wish works on a thematic principle and everything congeals into a whole. The LP alternates between quick and dirty garagey gems, and longer, five and six minute extended jams that explode into the cosmos. For a first album, and from someone so young, Wish definitely shows a great deal of promise and heft, and Connolly has got a great batting average going for him. Some may wish upon a star, but I wish that Wish could become stars. For the most part, this is stellar stuff and is on a high orbit way above its peers.

Published at: http://www.popmatters.com/pm/review/184725-wish-wish/