Normally, I like a review to include some biographical info on the band. However, I have little to none on Wan Santo Condo. The information sent to me was more of a poem, and I am way too lazy to do any research on my own. What I do know is that they are a four piece from Austin, whom I think have been around for about ten years. I also assume that their new self-titled album is their first release. With that out of the way, let’s talk about the music.
The singer for Wan Santo Condo, Bob Via, has a voice that can switch from a gravelly yell to an almost angelic high pitch. Think of Jeremy Enyck from The Fire Theft or perhaps Chris Cornell. It’s a cool and impressive talent, but he uses it so often that it does grow a little tedious by the end of the album.
Wan Santo Condo has the sound of a ‘90s rock band, which makes sense considering they’ve been together for ten years. They have a Sound Garden/Stone Temple Pilots flavor to them, heavy and loud guitars with pounding drums, punctuated by moments of peace and calm only to be shattered by another guitar explosion. They also excel at mixing in organs and keyboards to add another level to the music.
A few high points on the album are “A-Hole,” “Right or Wrong,” and “How Does It Feel?” The latter is the best showcase of Mr. Via’s particular vocal talents, complimented by a soft, simple keyboard melody at song’s entrance, while the vocals remain in that high angelic range. A wall of sound quickly explodes as Bob howls the title question.
Overall, the album is pretty good, if perhaps a little late. However, Chris Cornell has formed Audioslave and Scott Weiland has banded together with the tattered remnants of Guns N’ Roses to form Velvet Revolver, so there is a market for rock nostalgia of the early ‘90s. If you find yourself in this marketing niche, then try something new as opposed to the remains of formerly successful bands that imploded years ago.