So Many Wizards was initially the moniker of Nima Kazerouni. He began to record songs on his own as a way of coping with anxiety after a childhood that saw him flee a war-torn Iran and travel all over the world. After his first EP, Tree, more musicians joined the fold and more singles followed, such as Inner City. As the band members have increased, so has their loyal following in their native LA. It’s no surprise then that this debut LP, Warm Nothing, is heavily anticipated.
It’s also an LP that is trying to cram a lot in. Over just 28 minutes, 13 tracks whizz by about as fast as a British summer as guitars are strummed in a rush and drum kits are hit hurriedly. It adds to an experience that can be rather frustrating as songs end a lot sooner than they ought to. Tracks blend into each other all too easily and it will almost certainly confuse listeners that give this a spin the first time around when they find that tracks like Joshua (Kill Us Both) turns into Peru without any warning or pause for breath.
That’s not to say that the quality of the songwriting is bad. When So Many Wizards give themselves more than two minutes they can really thrive and the lion’s share of the best songs are the lengthier numbers. Inner City is a delightful summer jam with infectious melodies and excellent harmonies whilst Lose Your Mind is the very catchy standout. Compared to the considerably shorter indie pop bursts such as Happy Birthday, which could have been a highlight had they given it more legs, they deliver far more satisfaction and enjoyment.
Kazerouni’s singing on the album is drenched in reverb and his falsetto seems a little distant and washed out – almost to the point where you wish that someone had raised the volume on his microphone – but he is certainly a very good singer and proof that he’s still very much the star of the show. His lyrics are relatively simple stuff but there are some very good refrains scattered throughout that are memorable.
It’s hard to see what Warm Nothing adds to the table, despite the high points that are scattered throughout. There’s been a huge influx of bands over the last few years that have been doing similar things with much greater critical and commercial success and it therefore becomes increasingly hard to stand out. So Many Wizards come across as a talented band that’s eager to impress but that determination has led to an album that screams ‘quantity over quality’. This is likely to generate only a lukewarm response.