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Song Review: "fur" by wish, AKA Zach Mohler

“fur” is a song title that evokes a certain image and texture, which is apt because local artist Zach Mohler (aka wish) is all about texture. The multi-hyphenate musician has been releasing music under the wish moniker for about two years, which can be a long time for an independent artist. From the beginning of that period, however, Mohler’s particular style shines through. While there have been some changes, emphasis shifting more towards guitar and performable production, there is a sense of auteurist finality.

Photo by Quynn Lubs

The dreaded terms in music criticism of “low-fi” or, god forbid, “hazy,” come to mind when listening to these earlier tracks, but there’s so much more to them than catch-all phrases. wish’s tone is always melancholic, with an emphasis on low, lilting vocals, always far under the massive weight of the instrumentals. This is where that texture comes in. That thick-reverb, jangling kind of sound you can feel in your bones, somewhere between grunge and shoegaze. wish makes the sound his own, always personal but still accessible. Droning and pushing forward, a solid wall in contrast to Mohler’s unpredictable vocals.

Which brings us to “fur.” The song starts quiet and quickly kicks up into an angst-ridden frenzy (Not a complaint. I adore angst.) The emphasis here seems to be on guitar above all else. The track pulses and moves forward: low but loud, slow but with high energy, with a texture all of its own. The title could well refer to the fuzz surrounding the central riff, or the prickly up-and-down of the song’s climax, a breathtaking solo.

This is not to detract from Mohler’s voice, which is a wonder. The first half of the track follows an opposite pattern than the songs described above. That is, the guitar spirals and breathes and goes in a rapid direction of its own, while Mohler’s voice remains steady, a guiding light for the listener. This structure remains set until the aforementioned solo, after which Mohler’s voice returns as a gentle howl, taking the lead before the guitar, becoming an instrument in its own right.

Posed as a statement rather than the question-and-answer it could be, wish sings, “You want it all - I’ll give it to you” towards the beginning of a strong emotional crescendo in the track. That sentiment feels kind, not threatening. Perhaps it’s the shy sort of swagger in the way Mohler sings, but whoever the song is directed at (maybe us!) is being given it all, in a sense. This is to say the track provides a real emotional core, not shrouded in the irony some contemporaries may hide behind. It really feels as if the artist is giving all he can to this project, and one can only wait with bated breath to see what’s next for him.

Stay up to date with new releases and live shows by following Zach's Instagram!


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