It’s crazy to think that it’s five years since Ten Foot Wizard’s last album Sleeping Volcanoes came out. I seem remember hearing about it on The Sleeping Shaman and now look at me: writing reviews of dubious merit for that very site. I’m officially winning at life. Now, Sleeping Volcanoes was one of my favourite albums of 2015 so I was excited to hear their new record. While Get Out Of Your Mind doesn’t quite hit the same heights for me, there’s still plenty of stuff to like on it.
To rewind a bit: Ten Foot Wizard are a four-piece from Manchester and Get Out of Your Mind is their third full-length. This time round they’re releasing it on their own Beard Of Zeus label. If you’re looking for a lazy comparison then I reckon the place to start would be Clutch, as the band offers a similar blend of stoner rock, funk, and their own quirky sense of humour. But that really would be lazy as Ten Foot Wizard are instantly recognisable on their own terms. That’s in large part due to vocalist Gary Harkin who shows here that he can do pretty much any kind of vocal you might want in heavy music. It’s also worth noting that the production on this record is right on the money: plenty heavy but clear enough that you can hear all the instruments with no problems.
The album kicks off in rollicking style Namaste Dickhead and, as you might expect, a song with that title can’t fail to be good. Following the tried and true funky-quiet-verse-with-a-heavy-chorus format Ten Foot Wizard have honed over the years, it’s a fun listen with plenty of chunky guitar, and vocals that vary all the way from straight singing to a Johnny Morrow-style shriek. My only criticism is that while musically everything is spot on, I just don’t find the lyrics as engaging as I did on the previous record. That’s something I noticed across much of the album and, while it’s entirely a matter of personal taste, it did limit my enjoyment.
Next up is Broken Man, which is fine but has a whiff of filler about it until the final ninety seconds when the band put their foot on the gas for a stomping instrumental close. Noble Lie really stands out, sounding like QOTSA in their pomp. By all accounts it’s got all the ingredients to be a stone cold classic: plenty of groove; cool guitar melodies; and a really catchy sing-along chorus. But again, I find myself disliking the lyrics for no discernible reason.
[Noble Lie has] got all the ingredients to be a stone cold classic: plenty of groove; cool guitar melodies; and a really catchy sing-along chorus…
Summer Love is the album highlight for me. Although the opening section is a bit too self-consciously quirky, when the track breaks down halfway through and launches into a kick-arse instrumental section based around a fat, almost surf-rock bass riff all is forgiven. When the band then ups the ante by increasing the tempo, the results are glorious.
The second half of the album has a distinctly different feel to it; musically heavier and less light-hearted in mood. The title track marks the change. While it does have plenty of the quieter funky sections, the heavier choruses are properly southern-fried heavy, heading off into Scissorfight territory. After that, things are uniformly heavy, for better and for worse. How Low Can You Go? is a top-quality slice of heavy rock with guttural shouted vocals. Again, it wouldn’t sound out of place on a Scissorfight album, which is no bad thing in my book.
Working Towards A Bitter Future features more of the sludgy vocals from before and plenty of chunky, chugging guitar. It’s not bad, but equally isn’t particularly exciting. The album closes with King Shit Of Fuck Mountain, which nearly manages to be the awesome epic the band no doubt intended. Gary Harkin really does show he can sound like anyone here – my closest comparison for the heavier sections is Ben Hogg, the ogre-like vocalist from southern metallers Beaten Back To Pure. Much of the track is awesome with its heavy, plodding groove, but for me it just runs on too long and starts to drag by the end.
To conclude, I found Get Out Of Your Mind to be a real mixed bag. There are plenty of parts which are flat-out awesome, but also a few which just fall flat. Still, give it a listen and see what you reckon; there are definitely worse ways to spend 45 minutes.
Scribed by: Liam Blanc