"More than a band, The Wonder Revolution is a collective that features musicians and visual artists, all seeking a return to wonder. Based in Wichita, Kansas The Wonder Revolution brings together some of the Sunflower State’s most talented and imaginative players who explore the nature of wonder across a series of diverse musical settings that can only be described as wondermusic. More than just an amalgamation of post rock, indie, jazz and progressive styles, wondermusic is a genetic code shared by the collective’s diverse membership." - Air House Records
The Wonder Revolution’s most ambitious release to date, The Magic World opens with the simple “Prelude (Jump On In)”, but hardly your average “jump on in” which would beckon one to the water of a backyard pool. Instead it’s as if there’s a Genie wafting his wishes from a lantern, beckoning the listener to take a nude bath in a pool full of warm, fluffy, newborn puppies - an experience one once used to describe the effects of a very chic and illicit substance.
Continuing to “Tearlandia” the Wonder Revolution take a melancholic turn not experienced yet until this sixth release. Perhaps Wichita’s first band comprised of “actors” (musicians) playing characters, The Magic World boasts too much talent to reference here (read the liner notes, it’s fun) but the four characters featured on “Tearlandia” reach deep into their hearts and will yours too. Whispering the chorus over an electric piano riff, The Magic World is more haunting than The Wonder Revolutions previous five releases.
Starting out sounding like Joanna Newsom, circa Milk-Eyed Mender, “Tear Drop Stream” uses a plucked string sound aiding the listener in visualizing rhythmic tears dropping. Vocals join, sung almost in a round, provide a simple topping for this 39 second mini-jam.
“Elephant Fairy Valley” - Yup, the fourth song sounds pretty much like what you imagined in your head but add some gently persistent percussion toward the end.
“Green Sea” sounds adrift from the beginning utilizing The Magic World’s, entheogenic recipe of whispered vocal over classical guitar. At 1:29 this is merely a passerby embodying the daydream like quality of the pieces in between pieces of The Magic World we are now fully immersed in by the ten minute mark.
Instrumental “The Lost World” has no connection to the summer blockbuster but instead expands the vocabulary on some of the more romantic melodic themes contained in this 20 song release - again from Air House Records.
“Giant Atlantis / Blimpland” and “Gnomeland” are the only weak spots on The Magic World, if only for them sounding out of place in the context of the entire listening experience. Well arranged and performed, the typical “rock band” backing doesn’t work for having already brought listeners so far away from the idea of a typical rock listening experience.
Not sure how the recording engineer (assisted by Micajah Ryan) were able to capture the sound of a thumbed sea turtle adrift with a guitar to feature on “Bub Sea” but more than engineering credit is due in this type of extreme production environment.
Sometimes pulling at full row, yet mostly drifting through The Magic World, The Wonder Revolution enchant at each new “Tiny Tree Forest” explored or “Snow Kingdom” viewed perched atop a firefly’s wings.
Unsurprisingly, from listening to their previous releases, the use of classical guitar is all over The Magic World and sits comfortably in the mix with soft vocals, a go-to formula for most of the release. The added production treatment to The Magic World really accentuates the environment within which these creations are meant to exist, leaving little doubt this experience is intended for home listening and likely will not see live performance.
Further supporting this notion, the group is hosting a listening party for their release of Magic World, October 9, at Fisch Haus, 524 S. Commerce, complete with a red carpet. Not singing but performing in a completely different mode the band of characters with the inclusion of a moderator (Torin Andersen (that’s me!)) will be entertaining a discussion in between songs as they play the CD of which each guest will get a copy just for attending. Don’t leave too soon with your disc though, the band is heavily encouraging attendees to stick around for DVA (pronounced D’vah) the sibling duo visiting all the way from Hradec Králové / Pardubice - wherever the crap that is….probably some other magic world.