EP REVIEW - Wozniak - The Space Between The Trees - Featured Image - (700x700)

EP REVIEW | Wozniak - The Space Between The Trees

ALBUM REVIEW - Wozniak - The Space Between The Trees - Post Image - (300x300)ARTIST: Wozniak

RELEASE: The Space Between The Trees

RELEASE DATE: February 9th 2019

RECORD COMPANY: Morningside Young Team Records 

For those of you new to this blog, Edinburg-based 'Wozniak' have been thrilling us with their musical incantations since way back in 2013, subtly changing and morphing their collective sound with each individual release and building something that is much more akin to an experimental sonic journey than it is to a definite generic specification. This latest collection of six tracks brilliantly named 'The Space Between The Trees' is the culmination of six years hard graft, moulding and sculpting a sound that differs from most bands around them. They experiment, forge their own path, create blueprints for future bands to explore and are not afraid to mess with song atmospherics or light & shade sonics. The band are made up of Simon Cuthbert-Kerr - guitar, Sarah Cuthbert-Kerr - guitar/vocals, John Sinclair - drums & Kevin Fraser - bass. 'The Space Between The Trees' gets it's official release through 'Morningside Young Team Records' on February 9th 2019, was mastered by Simon Scott of Slowdive fame and is available to pre-order right now on various formats including lovely vinyl via wozniak.bandcamp.com

The EP opens up with 'Slacker'. Droning instrumentation swirls around the twinkle of guitar as that slow moving percussion rattles into audible range pulling the slow hum of the bass notes with it. Haunting vocalisations glide into view on waves of reverb, hanging in a kind of suspended animation as the track slowly builds, adding layer after layer of shimmering production before falling headlong into a deep pool of fuzzy reverberation and on into that meandering line of atmospheric lead guitar. With sizzling shoegaze highlights and oodles of post-rock charm, 'Slacker' is absolutely sublime. 'Karate Kid' begins with a rumbling growl as the guitars grind through a distorted, noise rock inspired chord structure. A brilliant cascading bass line arrives, skipping through notes with ease and adding a solid spine to proceedings as a steady drum pattern welcomes snaking lead lines that plough into that huge wall of immovable reverb. There are atmospheric post-rock vibrations here too, melding perfectly with those 'in your face' noise rock connotations that are aptly tipped with some psychedelic flair. What is glaringly noticeable already as we skip through this opening tracks is the input of Kevin Fraser on bass duties. Gone are those huge slabs of bass frequencies (as heard on previous releases) in favour of more melodic bass lines that seem suit the bands overall sound, melding brilliantly with the surrounding instrumentation.

'Bone Caves' floats into the sonic arena on a sparse but brilliant drum track, spacious guitars and the soft hum of bass. Soaring lead lines echo and dance here, drenching the entire track with instant melody as it pulses through clouds of iridescent reverberation. With swirling psych, hazy shoegaze and melancholic post-rock streaming through it's opening passages, 'Bone Caves' subtly changes half way through, morphing into this enormous sonic behemoth. Huge cliffs of atmosphere add weight as the track swoops skywards, tumbling and spiralling through catchy chord structures before gliding out into the sonic ether. 'Bone Caves' is sublime and a definite album highlight for me. The albums lead track, 'Twin Sirens', arrives with a menacing edge. Catchy lines of guitar bellow on top of swirling instrumental drones as woozy lines of bass tip toe in between the lines and we glide on swirling waves of reverb. Breathtaking and melodic all at once, this track scoops the listener up with it as it moves, building meticulously into a raging cyclone of beautiful noise before carefully tumbling earthwards into a majestic finale.

The EP's penultimate piece is another doozie. 'Rilke' explodes into the sonic arena on a wave of noisy guitar. Layers of reverb cushion those huge production theatrics as animalistic guitar sounds are unceremoniously bent and sculpted into something left over from MBV's 'Loveless' album. Menacing in it's approach, it's an interesting pause before we're introduced to the EP's final track 'Deceiver'. Coming in at almost fourteen minutes, 'Deceiver' begins with a squally guitar structure and the odd pull of bass frequencies before those woozy lead lines arrive trapped in a bubble of reverb. Again, Wozniak build this track brilliantly, adding intense atmosphere and catchy bass thrills before the drums arrive and we push off away from the dock and head out into a magnificent sea of reverb. Sarah's fragile vocals ride the sonic wave as that brilliant line of bass throbs underneath and those swirls of guitar take your breath away. Instrumentally this track is brilliant, manoeuvring through the darker moments with ease and sounding more like a live recording than anything else. Throughout their back catalogue Wozniak have had this great knack of adding an expectant edge to their collective sound and this track does not disappoint. It explodes into a baying wall sonic energy as the band work through the gears, unleashing wave after wave of turbulent noise onto the waiting listener before the arrival of those haunting vocalisations calm proceedings down and we're led into the tracks finale. It's a wonderful ending to what is another huge step in the development of a band on a continuous upwards spiral.

While some 'music commentators' affiliate Wozniak as being on the forefront of an apparent 'Second Wave' of shoegaze, those who have been actively supporting the band from its earliest beginnings understand that it's two main protagonists - Simon & Sarah Cuthbert-Kerr love to explore the spaces between musical generics & modern sonic lines. They collectively exasperate the layered atmospherics around them, slipping in-between different genres to subtly morph and shape their individual parts into something abhorrently better. Shoegaze as a genre has significantly moved on from that god awful 'Second Wave' terminology and is now in a kind of continuous experimental flux. It pulls a veritable melting pot of other musical genres into its collective consciousness such as modern psych, electronica, noise-rock, post-rock, post-punk, indie-pop, dream-pop & other more alternative leaning sounds. As a consequence of this experimental flux, it is forever changing it's sonic make up and is experiencing a longevity that some music types thought would never happen. So for us to just lump Wozniak into that 'second wave of shoegaze' bracket is simply lazy reviewing as they're much, much more attuned to their sonic surroundings than that.

5/5

LINKS:

wozniak.bandcamp.com

twitter.com/band_wozniak

facebook.com/wozniakofficial

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Del Chaney - (Author Photo)

Del Chaney has spent the last six years dedicating his time to uncovering the best artists in the unsigned or small independent label based shoegaze, ethereal dream pop, postpunk & modern psych rock from all over the globe & reviewing them for this blog - The Primal Music Blog. He is also a contributing writer for The Sound Of Confusion (Now On Hiatus). His other arm  - Primal Radio -  has gained considerable respect from bands and promoters alike since its conception in 2013 & has helped him in actively promoting genres of music that he is passionate about. Hailing from Dublin, Ireland, he is a keen Vinyl Collector, Tattoo Fan & all round good guy! He is a self confessed music freak & is never far away from a studio console or a turntable.