Updated: Oct 28, 2021
Words by Blake Savanah
Wizard Tricks bursts out of the blocks with a huge psych rock odyssey
An old wizard can indeed learn new tricks.
Wizard Tricks is the solo project of Clay Nielsen, formally of Melbourne psych band Froot Luips, who were making waves in the scene around 2018 with the release of their album Spilt Milk. It has been a long time coming for Wizard Tricks, which has been stuck in development limbo for two years, but boy was it worth the wait...
Nielsen is the driving force behind WT, collaborating on this album with artists including Sam Cashman (Dick Willoughby & the Dirty Stop Outs), Fergus Kuhar (Deadnecks, Trad Ukiyo, Froot Luips), Angus Landy (Donald Dank and the Naughty Boys), Kerim Dukic (Mondo Crane, Dick Willoughby, Mudpunch) and Llewelyn Crist (Froot Luips, Ambur).
The culmination of this collaboration is 46 minutes of psych rock goodness, with dreamy jams and heavy fuzz riffs that span themes of fantasy and nature, to escapism and absurdity. Wizard Tricks also shares a hefty connection to Spilt Milk.
In a way, the latter was the creative egg which hatched WT . The links can be found all throughout the WT album, most notably on Artificial Pollinating Bee Machine II, a sequel of sorts to the song of the same title on Spilt Milk. Does this mean they exist in the same universe?
Wizard Tricks is a concept album, with each song being chapters in an overarching narrative. The album follows the story of a regular man who over the course of seven songs, transforms into a powerful wizard. Each song corresponds to one of the seven Hermetic Principles.
Jam Sandwich is a bonus track nestled in there for good measure.
The lead single Sasquatch is sneakily catchy, with dreamy vocal harmonies and a wobbly melody reminiscent of children's fantasy cartoons from the 70's. It's as if Harry Nilssons The Point! got drunk and decided to look for Bigfoot in the forest.
The film clip is just as trippy, paying homage to classic conspiracy footage of the beast that never quite seem to fully capture him on camera. Or are just out of focus enough to make you question if it's a man in a suit, or some dirt on the camera lens. Excerpts from the 2011 cult classic Search for Bigfoot even make a cheeky appearance.
Wizard Tricks is a fun album that is chaotic while simultainisly keeping its composure. It never loses sight of what it is trying to deliver. It contains enough moments of brilliance and heaviness to keep you hooked all the way through on its psychedelic journey.
Wizard Tricks is out now on Giant Drop Records
Photo by Aneta Urbonaite