Wide Plans of a Palindrome

Eau Claire teens release debut album, have really long band name

Ian Jacoby, photos by Andrea Paulseth

Wide Plans at their shopfront window-based July 11 album release show, held in InfiniTea Teahouse.

Wide Plans of a Palindrome is part of the next phase in an already burgeoning Eau Claire music scene. This isn’t to say that their new album, First, isn’t without its missteps, but it is the first artistic statement of a few young dudes who are still trying to figure out who they are; whether that be within the world or the context of a new band.

The new project from jazzers Simon Adler, Karl Markgraf, and Patrick Kuehn alternates between upbeat dance-rock and slower, more thoughtful electro-folk. The album, especially the first couple of tracks, is full of subtle grooves and pleasant lilting vocals. Adler’s lower register is quiet and soft and full of feeling, while Markgraf’s guitar lies quiet over the top of a spacey floor tom on the song, Deer. It is such a quiet, tidy song that you’re almost sad to see it leave. There is a real depth here, a feeling of weight that stays with you long after Kuehn’s cymbals fade into the dark.

So let’s talk about the elephant in the room. Adler, Markgraf, and Kuehn are some of the first kids to grow up in the current cool Eau Claire indie scene. They all played in the uber-successful Memorial jazz bands of the last few years. It’s quite obvious that they’ve listened to Deyarmond Edison, Amateur Love, et al. Sometimes it’s just a little too obvious. One track (appropriately or not), entitled Amateur Lovers, appropriates a few riffs from the aforementioned EC legends while Adler does his best Josh Scott impression. It’s sort of an unfortunate moment on an album that really does stand up on its own two feet.

I know it’s a cop-out, and that these guys wouldn’t want me to talk about how young they are, but let’s face it, these guys put out a pretty durn good album the first time out. Sure, they’re still a little raw, and they still need to find the delicate balance between influence and copy, but let’s celebrate this band for what they are – a few young guys making music that is beautiful and subdued. If that isn’t a tribute to the Eau Claire scene, I don’t know what is.

Listen to songs from Wide Plans of a Palindrome’s debut album on Facebook or MySpace, or buy it for $5 at Infinitea Teahouse.

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