Wonderful Wankerz - Smashboxxx

8 songs
34:54 minutes
***** ***


With such a band name, most people will probably first think of a fun punk band, but those familiar with the debut of the Baltimore two-piece know what to expect: lo-fi indie garage rock with a twist. Consisting of the two brains behind The Agrarians and Krestovsky, both thoroughly reviewed before here, Wonderful Wankerz locate themselves somewhere in the middle ground, thus reining in The Agrarians sometimes meandering structures and giving more liberties to Krestovsky’s generally catchy indie pop songs.

Smashboxxx seems to consist of two halves. The first four tracks are quite compact and even armed with accessible melodies. The production is charmingly lo-fi but never muddy. Emphasis is given to the two performers’ charismatic singing styles and their different guitar playing techniques that complement each other perfectly. Discreet beats and even a piano on The Fallen Declines makes this track a worthy tribute to Velvet Underground’s Waiting For The Man.

The second half features longer songs, where especially the eight minute long Gay Cruise gives the two ample time for meandering. The final two pieces, Ben Jonson’s Blues Pt. II and Ben Jonson’s Blues (actually in this running order), show them from a more literary side.

If I am allowed to make an educated guess, I’d say that Krestovsky was mostly in charge in the first half, whereas the second one feels close to what we are known from The Agrarians. I can’t say which of their bands I prefer, because one of them writes wonderful indie pop songs while the other one is always good for unexpected turns in their psychedelic craft. That’s where the Wonderful Wankerz’ charm comes from: they combine the best of both worlds into something they couldn’t accomplish by themselves. It even fits therefore that they misspelled their band name on the front cover!

Back to Reviews