VVonder, Now and Again

Huntsmen Records • 2022

Winnipeg-based band VVonder combines energetic instrumentation and impeccable production to deliver a powerful debut album.

“I had a dream that everyone’s name was Kevin / Went back to sleep, it was only eleven / I’m so relieved it was only a dream.” I cannot tell whether it has been minutes or days since I heard it, yet I continue to search my soul to understand why this short excerpt from VVonder’s “Impossible Melody” touched me so deeply, yet it did. Though the lyrics are reminiscent of a Kafkaesque nightmare, the psychedelic nature of the track perfectly encapsulates the beauty and fun of the Winnipeg band’s debut album. 

There are a few notable components of Now and Again that interlock to form such a satisfying listen. The most effective is the record’s superb production. The punch of the drums, the growls of the guitar, and the clarity of the vocals paint a vivid acoustic landscape. The second component is the variety of sounds and inspirations found on the record. VVonder’s songwriting and instrumentation are refreshing yet familiar, energetic yet comforting. Now and Again bears the DNA of many great acts: Elton John in “Hurt So Much,” The White Stripes in “Interlude to Madness,” and the (surf rock) Killers in “Bye Bye Baby.” This nostalgia is even found in the band’s visual content. The music video accompanying “Mistake” features a cornucopia of vintage images — Renaissance paintings, classic movies, and mid-century stock photos that can only be described as stemming from an era where 9 out of 10 doctors recommended Camel cigarettes.  

“Nothing Matters Anyway” is carefree; “Mistake” is operatic; “Let A Lil’ Love” is stripped-down and vulnerable. Though tracks like “Degenerates” and “Everything I Need” are less prominent, Now and Again features enough acoustic diversity to justify its runtime without overstaying its welcome. Perhaps this variety can be attributed to the fact that VVonder’s members all hail from a handful of local bands, including Jicah, the Nods, Campfire Sigh, Trampoline, the Waking Eyes, and Butterfist Funhouse. 

As I write this, the clock inches closer to midnight. Now and Again is still fresh on my mind; the riffs and choruses still echo in my ears. Yet I feel my eyes grow heavy — the comforting silence of sleep is calling to me. My hands tremble as I write these final words, my parched quill yearns for more ink. May this night pass calmly without any more dreams of Kevin.

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Matt Holubowski 
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