Release Date: Oct 7, 2014
Record label: Polyvinyl
Genre(s): Alternative/Indie Rock, Indie Electronic, Indie Pop
Wampire look and sound like they're parodying something, but they're too damn good not to be taken seriously. They return with their follow up to 2013's Curiosity with another glam-infused record that boasts as many dance jams as hazy trips..
Following the release of their 2013 debut, Curiosity, Portland-based duo Wampire had to adapt to a rigorous touring schedule, as well as expand their membership from the long-running creative team of songwriters/multi-instrumentalists Rocky Tinder and Eric Phipps to a full band that could bring its studio creations to life on-stage. Curiosity was a busy and hyper-saturated pastiche of retro reference points and furry psych pop. It was a fantastically groomed album but also one that was years in the making, pained over by Tinder and Phipps as their band played locally around Portland, chipping away at ever-incubating ideas with no record deadline hovering over them.
Head here to submit your own review of this album. If there was one word to define Bazaar, it would be 'mutation': the album at its core is characterised by change, evolution, re-creation and reinvention. During the last twelve months, Portland-based Wampire mutated from a duo to a five-piece band, which resulted in profound changes regarding their dynamics and subsequently reflected the emerge of a new paradigm in their performances and songwriting.
Based around songwriting duo Rocky Tinder (who, with that name, could probably pursue a career in porn) and Eric Phipps, Portland’s Wampire match careening organs and guitars with endearing goofiness. Their name is inspired by an exchange student named Manuel that the pair met in high school, but their tunes are as robust as their sharp edge of silliness. There’s a fun Scooby Doo grizzle to single ‘The Amazing Heart Attack’; ‘Wizard Staff’ is twanging Unknown Mortal Orchestra-matching psych (UMO bassist Jacob Portrait produced the album); and ‘Millennials’, with its smudgy synth bursts, mirrors Ariel Pink at his poppiest.
Psych pop duo Wampire emerged from the Portland party house scene brazenly riding the wave of lite FM rock fetishism ushered in by groups like Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti and Unknown Mortal Orchestra. Cashing in on 2013’s whimsical streak, their debut album, Curiosity, emblazoned the campy dynamics of their peers with a dash of the macabre. Ostensibly comfortable in their station as oddball misfits, Wampire delivered their freakish ax work with equal parts goofiness and groundedness.
Wampire’s new album is trying to camouflage itself. On Fly On The Wall, Eric Phipps and Rocky Tinder sing in a mutual noir-mumble, “The only thing that matters is you don’t know I’m here.” The track is laden with shiny, skipping keys, synthetic brass and loosely thrust vocals. It’s like a thrift store outfit with many patterns and few matching pieces.
The main charm of Wampire’s 2013 debut Curiosity was how it sounded like it was thrown together in someone’s basement after a 48 hour session watching crummy B-movies and smoking headache inducing homegrown. Using that kind of John Maus/Ariel Pink anti-production lo-fi ethic that sounds like a recently found dust covered cassette, sparkling pop such as “Giants” and “The Hearse“ were dumb bubblegum indie pop indebted to The Archies with the one chord aggression of Joey, Dee and the band. This swift follow up has the duo expanding to a five piece and cutting the schlocky aspects that made them so appealing, the schlock has been replaced with sax - loads of sax.