To be perfectly frank, Total Wife makes me nervous. Their 2021 full-length record, To Make Sound, popped up on my Bandcamp radar around the time of its release and I was completely smitten from the jump. Since that time they’ve released a few singles, played a ton of shows and followed up with another self-titled full length, without misfiring once along the way. The level of satisfaction that comes from listening to this band has got me wound up waiting for the other shoe to drop.
At the heart of their sound is a shoegaze kernel; large walls of sound with withdrawn vocals and just the right amount of warble and noise to balance dissonance with harmony. With this most recent album release, they push their sound ever so slightly further into new realms. “With Speakers” is a beautifully gentle journey until it’s cut severely in half by a frantic beat and squirrely effects; none of which feels the bit out of place with one another. “Warehaus” is a slow burn of anticipation and mesmerizing swirls. “Between Walls” feels like an early My Bloody Valentine cut with an unfurling that should go on for a full ten minutes, no joke. It’s an album that contains a thousand touchpoints of familiarity from the likes of MBV, Slowdive, Lush, Broadcast and all of their ilk without coming across as derivative. These are sounds masterfully inspired by those worlds but not directly copying them.
It’s hard to like a band this much without feeling some worry that they’ll head in a new direction or burn so bright that they burn out. These concerns are, obviously, born out of absolute fandom. Fortunately, they’re also entirely unfounded. Listening to the singles released after Total Wife (Debbie, Mid-fi) it’s clear that we’re in good hands. Don’t let this band slip past you.