Eerie Wanda

Pet Town

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The first Eerie Wanda album, 2016's Hum, was a bright, calmly dreamy entry in the psychedelic pop sweepstakes, made unique by Marina Tadic's introspective melodies and even-keeled vocals. It also boasted note-perfect playing and production from members of Jacco Gardner's band. When the time came to follow it up with Pet Town, Tadic was going through a period of intense isolation and decided to do things differently. She wrote the songs and laid down her guitar and vocals, then sent them around to the other bandmembers to add their parts. Jasper Verhulst contributed simple basslines, new band member Jeroen de Heuvel unobtrusive keyboards, and instead of drums, the percussion is provided by finger snaps, bongos, handclaps, and a clunky drum machine. It makes for a simpler sound that lacks much of the '60s psych weirdness of Hum and instead sounds inspired by the decade that came before. There are traces of girl group sweetness, soda shop, rockabilly, and lots of Ricky Nelson's "Lonesome Town" in the sound Tadic and her mates create. It's quiet and peaceful, but never boring thanks to the richness of Tadic's voice and the power of her lyrics. There's a disarming directness to both the melodies and the words, and though one might miss Verhulst's pulsing basslines or the electric guitars, the unbroken mood Tadic creates is entrancing. Whether the songs are restrained and blue like "Rockabiller," lilting and hooky like "Magnetic Woman," or happily shuffling like "Sleepy Eyes," everything goes down like a spoonful of tonic right before bedtime. Pet Town makes for the perfect record to calm down at the end of a typically bonkers day or as a brief respite from the storm during the middle of it. Tadic's vocals are endlessly soothing, the arrangements are comforting, and the warmth of the songs emanates from the speakers like gentle heat waves from a crackling fire. Stripping back from the already gentle sound of Hum could have been a step in the wrong direction' instead, it's a perfect evolution and a wonderful album.

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