Ward XVI - Ward XVI
A band challenging the typical punk/rock n' roll genre with experiments with musical ideas most wouldn't even consider
Words: Jay Kirk
When asked to review this album, the first two things I encountered was the bands name and the artwork for their new self titled EP, both of which made me feel slightly uncomfortable, and bloody interested to listen.
Bearing in mind when I pressed play on first track, The Flight I didn't know the next thing about this band, so when a classic rock n' roll riff, backed by a psychadelic repeat kicked in I barely had time to process what I was listening to. From this first 15-30 seconds I had expected an older bloke with a raspy, throaty voice who clearly smoked far too much to take to the mic; I was therefore pleasantly surprised to hear a young woman with what is anundisputedly great voice. This was something different, the female voice adding to the psychotic and slightly creepy image these guys are honing in on, and god they hit it perfectly. For the first track on the album it explores and dips into so many different genres (namely punk, ska, rock and metal) I was left wondering what more the other three tracks could have to offer, and the answer lied in the play button on track two...
Blackened Heart kicks straight in with a steady beat and riff to solidify a great start to a song, spiced up with the cracking female frontman who goes by the name, 'Psychoberrie.' This song definitely showed more grounds in the punk section of their confusing genre label. A standard song, but nothing really too special in comparison to Toy Box, their weirdest and yet somehow one of the most entertaining and enjoyable songs I have heard in a long time. Granted, it is always best the first time you listen as it is quite simply so different, but that doesn't take away from what is a class song. It begins wth an accordian riff, not unlike you would hear at a carnival or travellers show, and goes into vocals which I can only think to describe as dramatic, throughout they play with tempo, challenge the typical punk/rock n' roll genre with their own twists and experiment with musical ideas most wouldn't even consider.
As I concluded, this song could not be made any more interesting, I stumbled across a video of this being performed at the Leeds 02 academy, and yes, performed. It is a theatrical show unmatched by few, and their image live is the only thing that could top the psychotic, messed up guise Ward XVI maintain. From makeup to prop wind up keys Ward XVI doesn't miss a single detail in their live show.
The album concludes with album title track, pinned on a mesmerizing piano sequence and vocals so soft and elegant you could listen to for hours, before kicking into their accustomed beat with strong, empowering screams to back Psychoberrie's vocals. As the song, and EP come to a conclusion the pace is slowed and soft piano strokes bring what was harmonic turmoil to an end.
All in all, the weirdest thing I've heard in a long time (coming from a huge SOAD fan) and I bloody love it.
Check out Ward XVI's Bandcamp here, https://wardxvi.bandcamp.com/releases be sure to look out for their future activity, they're not one to miss!