Pancho and The Wizards | Cemetery

 
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Family Average: 5/7

I don’t know about you, but my childhood was magical. Lots of wizards and witches and warlocks and whatnot. Harry Potter got us reading, Halloweentown got us trick-or-treating , and Gandalf kept us in line. 

Enter this California psych-rock band. Who is Pancho, you ask? Is he magically-inclined? Who are his Wizarding friends? Do they drive one of these? If not, why not? 

Clearly this band is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma. But did they cast a spell on the family? Have I made enough magic references? Are you tired of all these questions? 

Look below and see what the family had to say.

 
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Danger. Danger. Danger! We are experiencing high levels of random muscles spasming, and head thrashing. This epidemic is clearly brought on by the introduction of Pasco and the Wizards to our fragile atmosphere. Families are urged to get into their shelters. If you do not have a shelter. There is not much we can say other than, you probably should have built a shelter. PANCHOOOOOOO, and the Wizards are a San Luis Obispo, based psychedelic/blues/doom/rock band. A four pieced ensemble that could also pass for a fifty piece ensemble. No joke these fellas bring energy to the table. Drum rolls are less like thunder and more like two hundred simultaneous lightning strikes. I would love to see this band play on a stage outfitted with strobe lights, cash is tight however and I will just have to make do with my cell phone a boom box, and a poorly lit room.

Yes, sir, there is a lot to love on this one. That is not just the booze talking I am telling the truth here. Top track for me would have to be “Dumpster Fire” a great example of their strengths as a band. A technically talented group that can bring the energy up to 100 without losing an ounce of that precision. Please come and play in the city of New York Fellas.

6/7

 
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Poncho and the Wizards: Right away It was obvious that this band has a great deal of energy, every track insights a mash pit.

These guys or the quintessential California punk with a smile. I could definetly hear their influences, in this music, their energy is similar to white stripes, black keys the strokes and other bands that play straight out primitive rock and roll with flair.

There is definitely is some quality stuff here, my only criticism is that the music was a bit predictable each song started with a driving bass run followed by surf/punk maniac strumming  than vocals. I would have liked them to have have broke from the formula and play something different, I believe that they are talented and focused enough but they need to venture out of ther comfort zone and reach a little higher.

4/7 id like to give a higher score but too much of the same old same old.

 
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Okay so you know those vans with those loud wizard murals on them that look like they came from an artist that was equal parts rocker and d&d player? Take one of those and put sunglasses on the wizard and that’s what this band sounds like. They have this whole schtick of having their songs alluding to faux mythical legends, mythos and fantasy elements that are rooted in an 80s aesthetic a la Iron Maiden. But they also have that messy, garage rock Ramones feel with the crashing cymbals and pounding drums amid boisterous guitar riffs. The singer uses that punkish vocal style that’s like halfway between singing and shouting, and their mic sounds a bit distant with some distortion layered into it. The first song “The Drain” is a culmination of all of these elements, but the other songs veer off into their own somewhat. Not sure why the first one cuts off so abruptly though.

“Reoccuring Cave” I found sounded hollow…which given the title makes sense in retrospect. But even still, I felt like it was lacking something, there was some space that wasn’t being utilized. It did pick up a bit in the middle, but then went back to how it was. “Die by the Sword” had some cool lyrics, but if you’re not paying attention you’d miss them, especially with the reverb and the accent the singer puts on “sword” so it sounds like “seud.” It’s also a bit slower than the other two, but still somehow has more energy than the previous one. “Masoleum” had too slow a buildup for my taste though. By the time I started paying attention the song had already ended. Unlike the others “Dumpster Fire” lacks that fantastical aspect, but still paints an interesting scene. It strongly evokes a discontent, anger, and a generally jaded feeling. It’s like “things suck but so what that’s how they are.” Again, another song that while not directly mentioning it, compliments its title well. But also matching the title, the end got kind of messy though, there was a lot going on and it took me out of it. The last song “Rot” felt like a continuation of the previous song, but back in a more manageable state. It felt facetious, with resentment at how things are but not giving up. It rolls into a refrain that sounds similar to a lot of the other ones, where the notes go up and down and the cymbals crash haphazardly.

It’s a style I’m familiar with so I got no major complaints, it’s a solid album. But even with the rebeliousness it feels a bit safe, like it’s going over well-tred territory. A bit of something new would help set them apart.

4/7

 
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Cemetery by Pancho & the Wizards starts off their album by smacking you in the face with their high intensity punk/rock energy and then barely let's you up for air.  They may switch gears and bring in different influences on certain tracks but they do stay true to present the listener with a classic punk album.

I don't know that I am their target audience but a did like not only the energy in the music but I can also appreciate the energy they put into it's production.  It's not easy to achieve that live sound and intense energy without becoming sloppy. That's how I know they worked hard to achieve this end. "Rot" is probably my favorite track. I could totally see it having mass appeal.

5/7

 
Sean Maldjian