Album Review: So Many Wizards, ‘Love Songs for When You Leave Me’

30 Apr

In and of itself, the act of acquiring new music is rarely an inspiring experience. Most local acts will hand you a CD-R, languishing inside a jewel case with their band name hastily scrawled in Sharpie across the disc. Even more impersonal is the mp3 download—directing your browser to SendSpace to download a zip file of data meant to replicate what was once a very tactile experience.

Long Beach trio So Many Wizards clearly understand that while you still probably shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, there’s no harm in judging a cover on its own merits. For their 2009 Tree EP, lead singer and guitarist Nima Kazerouni produced hand-sewn, painted cardboard cases with personal messages inside. For the seven-song, March-released Love Songs for When You Leave Me, Kazerouni got even more high-concept, hollowing-out used hardback books and placing the CD inside, along with an illustration. It “doubles as a secret hiding place,” the band’s Web site helpfully points out.

Clever as it is, all of this precious presentation wouldn’t mean a whole lot if the music wasn’t good – thankfully, it’s great. For as much thought as Kazerouni puts into packaging, he doesn’t seem to over-think his songs. There’s nothing here over three minutes, which works out fine: once you get drawn in by the “Once upon, once upon a time” in “Seesaw,” the track’s pretty much over. But you don’t feel cheated, just ready to further explore the lush “bedroom pop” that charms in sweet, discreet increments.

The Wes Anderson soundtrack-ready “Nico” stands as the highlight, and along with closer “Like No Other,” the only pieces sonically reflective of the lachrymosity suggested in the EP title. The rest are a surprisingly sunny affair – the bounciest of the set is called “Night Terrors.” The music of So Many Wizards is exactly as warm and inviting as it appears to be.

So Many Wizards are scheduled to play Saturday, May 1 at the Smell in Los Angeles (all ages) with Big Whup, Pizza! and 60 Watt Kid;


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