WIL WAGNER: Laika: CD

May 08, 2013

Wow. Now I’m not someone who really likes singer/songwriters (in fact, I kinda dread reviewing them), but this dude out of Australia has something. What puts Wagner in a different sandbox is his knack for using his frantic acoustic guitar to accent his lyrics, which are equally self-effacing and observant like poetry. Not a crooner by any implication, Wil’s vocals are unfiltered and untreated, like Ian MacKaye’s in Fugazi, cracking with humility and charming with his Aussie accent. The title track snuck up on me. It’s told from the point of view of Laika, the first dog shot into outer space by Russia in Sputnik II. She died within hours of the launch. This kind of thing is precisely why I don’t watch movies with animals as main characters; it’s too fuckin’ sad when they go. So there’s your heads up. Recommended.

 –Kristen K (Poison City)

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