Wanderlust – All a View (review)

Wanderlust – All A View

Band reconvenes to complete songs written in 1996

The Philly band Wanderlust had a rock radio hit in 1995 with “I Walked” – a perfect blend of post-Grunge tension and melodic power pop.  The group opened for The Who and toured the country, but were dropped from their label before they could finish their second album.  In subsequent years, singer Scot Sax became a Grammy-winning songwriter and a sought-after filmmaker, while guitarist Rob Bonfiglio played with Brian Wilson’s band.

During the height of the pandemic and holed up at home, Sax was going through some boxes when he stumbled on an old DAT tape (a now-defunct technology that bands used to record on) that featured demos for a dozen or so songs written during Wanderlust’s brief heyday, and decided to complete them by enlisting his three former bandmates.  Remember though, this was COVID-19’s peak, so everything was done remotely, with each member adding their parts at their home.  The band also wrote a few new songs as well.  

Despite the somewhat Frankenstein-like circumstances, the result is All A View…an album that sounds like four guys, with amps cranked, playing in a room together, even though they were hundreds of miles apart.

The album opens with “All a View,” a song that manages to be both trippy and ferocious – it sure sounds like a band just jamming together in a garage.  “Black Currant Jam” features a great guitar riff, and once again channels that great mix of darkness and light that they were so good at back in the 90’s.  The Beatle-infused “Something Happens” is another highlight.

The album’s first single, “Corduroy Moon,” features some tasty Neil Young chord changes and harmonies, with lyrics that act as an interesting time capsule of their time on the road. Another surprise is Bonfiglio’s “Trick of the Light” – he’s got a soulful voice and the track recalls Matthew Sweet’s best moments.

“Bored and Blue” is the kind of song you’d write in your twenties, “I just want to see some action / I just want to make it happen,” that’s augmented by some nice pedal steel.  The record closes with the jangly “Inspiration” that has a Jayhawks’ feel.  

Many bands try to recapture their glory days, but few succeed the way Wanderlust has.  Their new album proves that it wasn’t the expensive studio, hot-shot producer, or even their youth that made their sound – it was the coming together of four musicians.  If you dig the power pop genre and long for the days when songs actually had melody, I highly recommend All A View.  —Tony Peters