The debut EP “Consider Her Way” by post-punk/alternative rock band West Wickhams came out on May 28th 2022 and it’s not your typical post-punk record at all. The first listen I had with this EP felt like I’m on a bad trip. To my surprise, the band informed us that the album does indeed tell the story of a woman’s out of body experience.
When Jane takes a drug to induce an out of body experience, she wakes up in a distorted future where only women exist and everyone deems her mad when she talks to them about men.
The album opens with the title track that has a lot of melodic guitars and nostalgic basslines. You’d think this is your typical goth-rock band arrangement but it’s not really like that. The vocals here feel as confused as the story’s protagonist.
The second track Les Mepris (Underwater) is carried by a lead guitar melody and is where most of the 90s alt rock influences shine. Think of The Cranberries or REM for example. I can’t help but wonder why the rest of the record wasn’t as straightforward as this but I went on with the artistic vision and experience as they were intended.
The third track “The Circus Is Over” has a jiggly bass line that feels influenced by famous goth acts (Think The Cure, Joy Division Alien Sex Fiend for example) and a repeating vocal hook “that was all a dream” that makes me feel like the effect of the pill our main character, Jane, took is beginning to wear out. I couldn’t tell for sure because once again the vocal delivery felt a little too unclear on this one.
The fourth track “The Zap Gone” was all eerie and creepy guitar sounds that I truly enjoyed and wanted more of. What a beautiful combination of musical influences to tell a story! It feels like we are approaching the end of the confusion and maybe Jane will be awake soon but then…
The fifth and final track of the record “Turning Into Someone Else” begins with once again unclear backing vocals that made me feel like I’m alone in Jane’s bad trip. It feels like the story ends with a cliffhanger or maybe even without an outcome at all. It was mind-boggling at this point.
In the end, the record felt like a soundtrack with minimalistic lead lines here and there but nothing that’s really super catchy. You will either love the album for its many influences, or dismiss it altogether because they’re all over the place. Don’t get me wrong this is a record I really liked, but just couldn’t help but feel like I want more and I want one of the many directions it had to be more prevalent.
Whether the future of West Wickhams will be purely post-punk or purely alternative, or an entirely new style is still undecided. But what’s for sure is that this is a band that sparked my interest to follow them in whatever future sounds they might invent.