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I’ve got a real soft spot in my hard mechanical heart for Sheffield scamps Wooderson, who here have dropped their debut long-player after knocking about on the live scene around Yorkshire and beyond for seemingly an age. They peddle a blend of slacker-paced post-hardcore that’s reminding me of a lot of bands from around the turn of the century...This Ain’t Vegas, Fugazi, ...Trail Of Dead, At The Drive-In, Reiziger, The Van Pelt - there’s elements of all these bands evident here, as well as a liberal dose of the brittle, frayed emotional UK DIY sound of bands like What Price Wonderland, Facel Vega and the like.
It goes some way to illustrating the esteem in which they are held that this is coming out on two excellent local DIY labels, Bombed Out and Art For Blind, whose output is usually quite markedly different, although both do share a love for that late ‘90s sound. There’s lots of the wonky time signatures, simple repeato guitar licks, crunching chords and thumping, fluid grooves that have made them such a live favourite over recent years, and the recording is impeccable.
While the energy of their live shows is ever-present, it’s when they bring things down a notch on the Sonic Youth-meets-Fugazi nonchalance of ‘Mint Condition’ that they shine the brightest, with queasily lilting bass grooves, playful drumming which makes good use of an absolutely cavernous booming floor tom, and ominously patient Rodan-esque guitar grooving building to a spare chorus with call-and-response unison vocals. I’m delighted to report that Wooderson have come up with the goods and produced an album which captures the energy and melody of their live shows. Let’s hope we don’t have to wait so long for the next one.
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