Wednesday: Mowing the Leaves Instead of Piling ‘em Up (Orindal) - review | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Monday, May 27th, 2024  


Mowing the Leaves Instead of Piling ‘em Up


Mar 10, 2022 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

Asheville quintet Wednesday bring a well-timed follow-up to their breakout Twin Plagues album from last year. The Karly Hartzman led group had a little spare studio time on their hands and laid down nine far reaching cover songs for their next act. Given that the songs range from a pair of country classics, to latter day Americana, to more mainstream alternative rock, the album primarily serves as a further sampler of what Wednesday does right. Namely putting together melodic song structures slathered over with more than a fair share of feedback and an off-handed charm courtesy of Hartzman’s vocals.

Though the album’s title was given about as much a thought as the project itself, per Hartzman, mowing through a yard full of leaves is certainly a quicker task than a day spent raking. And it’s with that same level of “any job worth doing is worth doing quickly” sentimentality that brings the most thrilling moments here. Case in point being the opening run through of Gary Stewart’s “She’s Actin’ Single (I’m Drinkin’ Doubles),” where Jake Lenderman’s (MJ Lenderman) guitar lead goes as rogue as Stewart’s wayward woman. Two tracks later, Hartzman leads us down a similarly heartbreaking path bounding through Roger Miller’s “Lock, Stock and Teardrops.”

The first four album tracks are given full band treatment, with Lenderman’s vocal lead on Drive-By Truckers’ “Women Without Whiskey” proving an earnest tribute to DBT’s Mike Cooley’s skills as the more tuneful of the Truckers’ core song writing duo. Only a smudged-up cover of Chris Bell’s “I am the Cosmos” overstays its welcome a bit while gamely hitting on some Beatles-esque flourishes along the way.

The balance of the album was recorded by Hartzman and Lenderman alone and also holds a pair of aces. A drone laden take on The Wipers’ lead man Greg Sage’s “Sacrifice (For Love),” makes for the album’s dark horse contender. After repeated listens the ebbs and flows of Hartzman’s and Lenderman’s vocals meld in perfectly with the hazy West Coast afterglow that more than outshines the original. While an empathetic read of Vic Chesnutt’s early career “Rabbit Box” shows that the couple has no problems walking around in someone else’s skin. If Stewart’s song shows Wednesday at their blustery best, the Chesnutt cover shows that they are clearly paying attention and paying dues.

As a one-off placeholder until Wednesday’s next full-length of original material comes out, Mowing the Leaves makes for a perfect spring time stop-gap. Like “Rabbit Box” or Twin Plagues’ cover of Edie Brickell’s “Ghost of a Dog,” Wednesday’s choices aren’t always the most obvious until you hear them make them their own. (

Author rating: 7.5/10

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Average reader rating: 3/10


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