Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Single Review - Wozniak - MFMB / New Hampshire

Local post-rockers Wozniak haven’t been around that long but seem to be going about things the right way-playing loud as hell live shows, and getting their sound down on record effectively and pleasingly.  As far as I know, this is their first release, a two-song effort which sets out their sound and shows great promise.

The first song is MFMB.  They describe themselves as shoegaze and post-rock but actually this to me sounds more like a less angular take on Will Sergeant’s guitar work on ‘Crocodiles’-era Bunnymen.  It kicks off in pleasingly heavy fashion, with a slow pounding rhythm and a huge, sparse snare that beats like an ominous ticking clock, counting down the seconds till it gives way to the inevitable mighty thrashing.  All very satisfying that is too when it comes.  That, of course, is exactly what she said.

As can often be the case with this kind of music, the most captivating stuff about this is the effects and atmospherics going on in the song. The production on this isn’t like, say, MBV or JAMC where the melodies are buried in static, it’s more like the whole thing’s being played in an echo chamber- the cymbals fizz and rattle, the bass is ominous and distant, and it’s all very goth, but in a good way.  Sort of like Dub in the way the echoes contain everything.  Like Nightmare Goth dub, with Will Sergeant on lead Guitar.  If that was something that sounded appealing.  Oh god, I’m sorry Wozniak, that’s a terrible sounding description.  Tell you what, let’s forget I ever said it.

There’s a nice angry fast bit at the end too, a sort of ‘one-two-three-four-rock out!’ bit tailor-made to sound fantastic live.  One thing that stands out is that Wozniak don’t seem to want to mess about.  Where this genre is often about the six-minute feedback opus where a riff goes on and on to infinity, this song manages several shifts of gear in a mere 4 minutes 34 seconds and is all the more rewarding for it.

That sense of discipline also serves them well on the second song, New Hampshire.  This one’s like a time portal to 1992!  The guitar comes in like swirling fog, and then a sort of genderless whispered falsetto vocal comes in with the beat and THEN all of a sudden it breaks out into a nagging, circular chorus riff which I swear sounds familiar but is great.  The urge to hunt desperately through my record collection is suppressed because this is very good stuff.  In my head I’m dancing in a ragged overcoat, mumbling into a pint of Students’ Union Worthingtons behind a floppy fringe whilst around me people in tie-die trousers, black leather and velvet smoking jackets do that ‘look at me, I’m a tree’ dance.  Just in case that’s not clear, I’m saying this is a GOOD thing.

If I had a complaint, I’d say that I wanted more than just two songs.  Not just out of nostalgia-despite all the old reference points, I think Wozniak sound like something fresh, so I guess I would say I both want and expect a lot more good music from this lot.  The launch is at Sneaky Pete’s this Friday 1st November.  My old battered overcoat and I will see you down at the front.

- Tom Everett

Wozniak - MFMB / New Hampshire is out now and is available to download on a 'name your price' basis via the band's Bandcamp page.

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