It’s quite hard to place a finger on what exactly Wreck and Reference is. The duo has embarked on a dark journey that has led them through two EPs, Black Cassette and
Content and 2012’s bleak Youth, each release blurring the boundaries between electronic music, metal and noise. Ever tempering their craft, Wreck and Reference bless 2014 with an acidic baptism in the form of Want, their second full-length and most realized and mournful work.
Listening to Want is akin to drinking sand, not unlike what is depicted on the album’s cover, with nothing the album offers going down smooth until the album’s final tracks. The vocals are abrasive, dripping with an intent to tear away every layer of your psyche until a squirming, longing mass remains. As evidenced on opening track, “Corpse Museum,” these shouts fall and crest chaotically beneath the gloom of the chanting samples. “Apollo Beneath the Whip” is possessed by a calm, mythic scale that rises into sheer calamity amid tender drops of piano strokes. The darker than dark, steely “Fill this Hole in Me,” is permeated by the coincidences that can be shared by another conscious, equally terrified by that empathetic magnetism. The self is flayed and left for dead to bake under a rotten sun in “Bankrupt,” a feral mood accompanied by little more than anguish, quiet thunder and sparse, abusive use of hi-hat and snare. “A Glass Cage for an Animal” is brief, minimal and forged in the fires of existential woe.
“A Tax” is among the collection’s most elegant pieces, a midpoint in an agonizing personal journey that is blessed a monstrous, foreboding atmosphere with a tender underside fearful of being exposed and exposition alike. Wrought of hardly audible whispers and delicate drum strikes, this is a song about the displeasure of truly meeting one’s self. Operatic in its opening throes, “Flies” swarms miserably amid fleshy monoliths, uncaring yet curious still of what lies beneath these darkly cast silhouettes. The sound moves on a triumphant cadence, but weighed with stones to frolic in a lake of murk, never victorious but endlessly defeated. “Convalescence” is a love song draped in silk, a flimsy, though effective tomb built to contain a virulent entity capable of human emotion marred by animistic passion. “Machine of Confusion,” not unlike “A Glass Cage for an Animal,” is built from rusted metals and sorrowed ambitions, created with the sole intention to eliminate self-worth.
War drums call an end for genealogical legacies in “Swallow,” a dismal march leveled with screeching mortars and an unforgiving, hateful bombast. “Apologies” is sorrow incarnate, replete with room for the screams to echo as if locked in a sealed catacomb for self-loathing. A deep surrender reverberates as the drums intermittently flourish like a fading heartbeat, well beyond the point of resuscitation.Categorically, Want is intended to eliminate all genial emotions from the listeners, similar to classics from peers like The Cure’s Pornography and Have a Nice Life’s Deathconsciousness. Expansive and consistent, this is the collection that Wreck and Reference have prophesied of in prior works, Want is contemplative, suicidal and beautiful to a degree that make’s life worth all the shit.