John Wizards – “John Wizards”
Cape Town, South Africa resident, John Withersand and Rwandan singer, Emmanuel Nzaramba craft the funky tunes behind the band John Wizards. This new self-titled album is a ride. There are unexpected key changes on every down beat, vocals that are so perfectly offbeat nothing else would make sense, tempo changes that catch you by surprise and fulfill any desire for dynamic spontaneity, a complete fizzle out of all instruments only for the silence to be replaced by a random snippet of a conversation, and countless different languages that complement the music so well that you don’t need to know what the foreign words mean to understand the beauty behind them. One moment you are enjoying festival-atmosphere tracks, then you are hurtled into down tempo indie pop, only to gently land in the heat of Africa itself.
This album is so restlessly creative in every transition and completely unpredictable in every other aspect. Its genre is almost undefinable. Its twists and turns can give off a happy African vibe, or sound almost Vampire Weekend-y with more of an auto-tuned flare, like in the album’s single, “Lusaka by Night”. At times the songs swell into a kind of placidly chaotic eruption of sound due to the slightly out of rhythm vocals and instrumentals. But this experimenting with tempos and techniques is what makes this album so outstanding.
This genre fiddling self-titled album is a gem. It features fifteen songs so one of them has to catch your ear. There is a diverse John Wizards sound on this album for anyone and everyone to enjoy.