21 Oct 2021 - Pat O'
Post-Rock/Shoegaze/Instrumental | Release date: 06 Aug 2021
Wozniak are never afraid to experiment and tinker with sound. From great cinematic soundscapes to passionate, hard hitting “post-rock” crescendos, these guys have talent in abundance. Bruises encompasses all these traits and conjures up a deeply atmospheric and moving album.
Wozniak hail from one of my favourite European cities, Edinburgh. Anyone who has been there will understand its charm and why people speak so fondly of their time in the Scottish capital. All this only adds to the affection I have for this band and for their obvious talent for creating melody and emotion. Bruises is an album that has been on my radar since it was released back in august, but for one reason or another I never got to sit down and put into words the experience I feel when I listen to their music. Whenever I decide to play Bruises I tend to get lost in its expansive cinematic structures and its spacious, hypnotic sounds. I love how Wozniak play and experiment with the darker side of deep atmospheric soundscapes. It can be chilling and unnerving at times, but it always creates a monumental stage where anything can happen, and often does. No two tracks are ever the same and each song brings its own emotion and identity, whether it’s feeding off some drone-like “shoegaze” wavering or some galloping “post-rock” crescendo. Whatever magic they’ve conjured up on Bruises, it’s a journey you need to take and experience.
The dark, menacing strings of “The Cannibal” opens the album with its unsettling and heavily distorted guitars accompanied by bleak dense drums. It’s wave after wave of horror inspired atmospherics, all tied together with a mournful violin who’s bow wails and grieves across solemn strings. Quite a fitting tribute to a track entitled “The Cannibal”, something that didn’t happen by chance I’d imagine!
The atmosphere and uncertainty continues into the second track “Arts & Science” with its rasping drums crashing over a vocal that scares and spooks! Its hypnotic sampling and droning ambience is relentless as it pounds and immerses you right to the final chord, all a far cry from the track that follows. “Beach Black” takes what can only be described as a bass line from a seventies cult movie and goes all Mogwai on it. I use Mogwai’s name very carefully here as I never want to insinuate for a second that Wozniak are another Mogwai wannabe. But There is an overlap in both bands unique style and sound. They both have a knack of finding a deep underlying hook, and painting layer upon layer of noise over each other to create a wall of sound that pins you down and smothers without a struggle.
Wozniak are never afraid to experiment and tinker with their music. Inspiration can come from anywhere, and the next track, “Icelandic Waters” typifies that. Its synthesised wall throws up images of the great Atlantic waters from the south colliding mid-sea with the bitterly cold Artic waters of the north. Glacial screeches and thunderous icebergs shift and dominate, perfectly describing the battle of the Icelandic waterways, and all performed by the power of electronica!
“Cadences” and “Moga Mobo” are two tracks that lean more towards a dream pop and indie inspired sound. “Cadences” is the more indie of the two, with its vocal sample echoing and reverberating over the guitars and bass while “Moga Mobo” dips all its toes into the dream pop world populated with soft shimmering guitars, and gentle positive vibes. The two tracks play off one another so well, even though they both play a very different role in the album.
“Goldfinch” is the next track up, and again the direction shifts once more with some ninety’s indie acoustic guitar riffs. But the Wozniak treatment is alive and well with deep, rich atmospherics swarming over the guitars, giving the track great scope and volume. Ambient swells come in waves as the track calmly glides forward. An electric guitar solo joins the track as the tempo and emotion builds to a wonderful “post-rock” crescendo that is as good as anything I have heard in a while. The track is patient and purposeful and only reiterates the talent these guys have for moulding and imagining such beautiful music. This beauty is further adorned with the closing track “Slow Fade”. Synths along with a heart breaking vocal, pull at every heart string, provoking a moment of inner calm and complete clarity. A beautiful ending to a hugely experimental and satisfying album.
I will get to Edinburgh again soon and on my next trip I will be making it my business to walk through the timeworn cobbled streets and the medieval laneways of the old town at dusk, with Wozniak’s Bruises as the soundtrack. There is no better way to experience the cinematic drama and the haunting atmosphere that this album conjures up… Then it’s off to The Deacon Brodies for a pint!!