The Wingard Manor
If You Could See Yourselves
Long Beach's David Wingard works with electronic arrangements on his self-released debut album under the name the Wingard Manor, but in delivery and approach, one can hear the started-with-a-guitar roots of his music--it's the kind of impassioned delivery that actually calls to mind many early performers in synth-pop's earliest days who had similar backgrounds, eschewing Kraftwerk's cool control for something more visceral.
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Wingard's own general approach actually feels out of time in just the right way--there's something endearing in his heart-on-his-sleeve performances on "Smoke to Forget," a crisp percussion click and deep synth-bass run that calls to mind a long-lost KROQ that maybe never quite was. It's not quite Trent Reznor's rage over the fairly conventional arrangements on Pretty Hate Machine, but it's not too far removed. (There's also a bit of the adolescent petulance Reznor was known for in the murky roil of "Being Right Gets Lonely," if only because "I left you a note in biology" is very much a time-and-place kind of line.)
On "Daddy Built a Chimney"--one of two songs co-written by guest singer Sarah Moor--the slippery fretless bass and sweetly sad keyboard touches makes everything feel that much more ghostly. Moor's other lead vocal, "Waltz," sounds like it could be that at the start, but when the drum machines fire up in full speed for a midsong break, it's a nice little touch of chaos.
Meanwhile, songs such as "Seesaw Hauntings," featuring both Wingard and Moor over an arrangement that alternately pulses along, and then breaks down into a steady, slow progression, shows Wingard's got an ear for a hook. Keep your eyes open for more, including a soon-to-be-released second album--there's something worth checking out.