LP £17.49 ERC 014
Repress LP on Emotional Rescue.
CD £10.49 ERC014CD
CD on Emotional Response.
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Woo are one of those bands who, from the sound that they make, and their longevity, I should know about. But I didn’t...until very recently. They came to my attention via their excellent split 7” with Nite Jewel early this year and now we have a lovely re-issue of their debut album recorded way back in 1978. The opening track ‘Swingtime’ exemplifies everything that is great about this group. It’s an elastic lo-fi collage of sound with burbling bass, strummy acoustic guitars and boxy percussion. It’s kind of freeform but ever so tuneful. It’s a tremendously original sound they have come up with, it reminds me quite a bit of the instrumental Young Marble Giants pieces as found on their ‘Testcard’ EP.
The press release also accurately describes them as like “the music the Durutti Column would have made with Penguin Cafe Orchestra if produced by Brian Eno”. Woo, who have made apparently over 1,500 recordings, remain relatively unknown. They comprise of brothers Mark and Clive Ives and utilise ‘real’ instruments, i.e guitars, bass, clarinet to produce a kind of distinctive home made folktronica but its not as twee as that perhaps sounds. Amongst the sun dappled melodicisms there are areas of noise and skree and the rhythms they produce have put Phil here in mind of later era Can.
Tracks such as ‘CH Revisted’ are glorious. The bright acoustic guitars pick out a lazy rhythm on which layers of keyboard are added to create a kind of outrageously strung-out summery jazz inflected soundscape. ‘A Wave’ has spanish sounding plucked acoustic guitars - its all fed through what sounds to be like some kind of haze machine creating a lonesome dusty vibe with shades of Morricone. Vocals are used very sparingly but when they do appear as on ‘The Attic’ (words from a Roger McGough poem), they do not distract from the lovingly crafted electronica.
This is a lovely album, there is something so heartwarming about their compositions and even if they are being a bit difficult and jazzy on the odd track, the vignette like appeal means that there’ll be another one along in a minute that you’ll like. They deserve to take their rightful place amongst the great and good of the post-punk experimental wanderers.
9/10 Nike Customer review, 23rd January 2014
When I heard this music I thought it was something new. Maybe recorded 2010-2013. Not! This was futuristic when it was released early 80's or just shit. But today it's great like Ariel Pink.
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