I think it’s German for “The Wanderlust”

I don’t recall ever being so genuinely terrified of a singer as I am of Laura Simmons from the group Das Wanderlust. Hailing from Middlesborough, England, her voice is high and girlish, and inflected with a thick northern accent. During low-key moments she sounds pleasant and tuneful, with just the slightest trace of tension to upset the prettiness. But when the band erupts – as it does on nearly every song – her voice becomes suddenly manic, with squeals and yelps that sound genuinely unhinged. Rather than releasing the tension, these screams have a quivering anxiety that only builds the sense of uneasiness. What makes it so truly frightening is that no matter how crazy she gets, Simmons never loses that girlish quality in her voice. It’s the same thing that makes young children so effective in horror movies – nothing is more sinister than tainted innocence.

The band’s instrumental arrangements are fittingly twisted, with goofy keyboards set against jagged guitars and explosions of drums. It’s a juxtaposition of cutesiness and abrasiveness that is something like the auditory equivalent to Happy Tree Friends.

The single “Puzzle” is a noisy highlight, beginning with dissonant pounding and wordless hollering that sets an ominous tone for the song’s (comparatively) quiet middle movement. But in the song’s final moments, it becomes unexpectedly tuneful, with a propulsive beat and upward-reaching keyboard arpeggios that are as close as the band ever gets to catharsis.

“Turn to Grey” is the band’s gentlest moment, and despite its chorus of “I’m filled with disappointment,” it’s genuinely beautiful. Based around piano and glockenspiel, it features no guitar and only minimal percussion. Given the rest of the band’s material, it sounds like it could blow up at any moment; it never does however, settling for an sped-up version of the chorus as its understated climax.

The band has released several 7″ singles (including “Puzzle”), some of which are available digitally through iTunes. The group’s debut full-length, Horses for Courses, will be officially released on May 18 (although it will be sold at shows prior to that).
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