Album Review: Wot Gorilla? – Kebnekaise

Wot Gorilla? are a four-piece band from Halifax, UK who fuse math and progressive rock to create a perfectly balanced and beautiful sound. Formed in 2009, Wot Gorilla? have released several fantastic EPs, which are still available to download from their bandcamp, and last week they unleashed their debut full-length creation on the world, the brilliant Kebnekaise.

Kebnekaise is a sublime album. It’s complicated yet engaging, focusing on layers of catchy and infectious melodies instead of vocal call and repeat hooks.

The instrumental opener ‘I beat up the bathroom. I’m sorry’ pairs a driving bassline with a nifty little guitar loop before a sudden and powerful breakdown brings the track to a close, paving the way for the rest of the album to flow through. Those ninety eight seconds set the tone for the album and give you a brief glimpse at what to expect from the ten other tracks that succeed it; Chopping time signatures, jarring guitars, intricate drums and groovy bass.

Kebnekaise is an album that takes a few listens to decode and appreciate fully because of the sheer scale of what’s built into each track. Every little nuance and quivering beat has been slotted together to create a landscape of beautiful and dreamy math rock that streams along, veering off down brutal and jagged paths as heavy breakdowns take hold. The closing minutes of ‘is’ feature both the angelic beauty and the vicious carnage that make up the two sides of Wot Gorilla? battling side by side as the earlier moments of sanctity are forgotten.

‘Suspects’ is a prime example of the pacey and groove infused elements of Wot Gorillas? sound that play a centrifugal role in Kebnekaise’s makeup. The punchy guitars are replaced by sweeping basslines and the drumming loses its frantic edge and instead emits dance-fuelled vibes that coupled with the swaying melodies makes for a very upbeat and energetic song.

The vocals are strong throughout Kebnekaise, hanging behind to offer a weighty yet airy backdrop to the complexity of the instrumentals yet unafraid to surge forward and drag the rest of the track in their wake. ‘Holy B’Jesus!’ exploits this best with the heartfelt hush of the vocals drawing you in before another chaotic breakdown sweeps you away, all the while the singing penetrates the twisting madness with calm allure. The staggered pulsating final moments of ‘Holy B’Jesus!’ are pristine and sublime.

The brief interlude of Spanning Time signifies a late change for Kebnekaise as it precedes the brutal carnage that is lead track, Snow White. Skipping daintily along before echoing breakdowns pause and relaunch their relentless assault. Snow White a swirling vortex of monstrous and gargantuan confusion that’s underpinned with delicate refrains that reel it all back in before it starts all over again. Singing turns into visceral screams and there’s a clear danger that Wot Gorilla? may lose control before the album is over. It’s a superb track and is Kebnekaise’s last hoorah.

Kebnekaise is utterly brilliant. Combining complexity and intricacy with flair and technical skill to create an album that’s constantly surprising and forever engaging, Wot Gorilla? have displayed the competency and precision that they have at their disposal. Kebnekaise isn’t pop up book music, it’s music that needs examining, mulling over and digesting in order to fully appreciate just how much is behind every crackling drum rattle or sudden dart in time signatures.  It really is a pleasure to delve into every track and discover the delicate nuances that lay beneath the crisp, refined surface.

Kebnekaise is out now and you should get it. Really, you should.


~ by justdip on 02/09/2012.

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