Over the span of their 14 year run, The Walkmen’s unflinching consistency reminded me of a pitcher who got by on smarts rather than velocity. About once an inning, they’d be able to get a 98 MPH fastball by for a strike 3, but for the most part, finesse was more important to their identity. Similarly enough, the pleasure in listening to So Many Wizards comes from their dedication to the change-up.
The twee grooves on Warm Nothing, their first full length LP, provide a great sense of tranquility while still having enough bite to them for head-nodding to be acceptable. There are times when they’re a little too melodic and cooey for their own good, however. The strength in Warm Nothing comes when the strums of the rhythm guitar are at their tightest.
“Lose Your Mind” is a good example of So Many Wizards at their best. I find the lyrics to be fascinating, simply because it’s almost irksome how nurturing they are. Each line can be its own inspirational quote that some Instagram account with a million followers would post with a starry night backgrounding it. But there’s true charm in the hook being “my mother told me so,” in a way that assures the band their Sensitive Boy Street Cred for years to come. It’s a sign that their delicacy is genuine.
Another wrinkle to their sound that doesn’t get explored too often is the off-beat quirkiness on songs like “Sleepwalk.” They up their innocent sound tenfold with childlike imagery and some twinkly little xylophone action. It would be fun seeing them tap into their inner Kimya Dawson a little more often on future releases.
What made The Walkmen soundtracking the end of ‘How I Met Your Mother’ so amazing is that, aside from people really liking ‘The Rat’, they were constantly overshadowed by the bigger and louder bands of their time. It was a win for bands like So Many Wizards because it proved sentimental Indie Rock still had a place in people’s hearts. It’s still in all of us. Don’t be afraid. Embrace your inner sepia tint and listen to some So Many Wizards.