Wozniak, one of the leaders in the second wave of Shoegaze bands, is releasing their delicious third EP The Space Between The Trees on February 9th. This record is a splendid slice of sonics that follows up the band’s 2017 full-length release, Courage Reels. The Edinburgh quartet has been compared to Mogwai, Slow Dive and Sigur Ros. Their compulsively textured intensity once encountered captures listeners in their web.
Wozniak was founded in 2012, with husband/wife combo Simon and Sarah Cuthbert-Kerr on guitars with Sarah providing vocals, John Sinclair on drums and original bassist James Urquhart. The band is named for Apple Computer Co-founder Steve Wozniak of whom Simon is a major admirer. After the release of Courage Reels bassist James Urquhart departed the band and was replaced by Kevin Fraser. The Space Between The Trees was recorded over 2018 at a variety of Edinburgh recording studios including The Depot. The band utilized a DIY approach this go-round with band bassist Kevin Fraser working the recording desk while Shoegaze legend Simon Scott performed the mastering duties.
On The Space Between The Trees, Wozniak creates an inspired musical chiaroscuro. Their scintillating walls of sound are composed of vocal ephemeral glossolalia, Kraut Rock percussion, swirling guitars, pedal effects and mighty rumblings of bass. This unique sonic signature is fast becoming the band’s calling card. The album takes up where Courage Reels left off with the cacophony of the universe exploding into existence on opener Slacker. On the track, crystalline guitars chime producing goosebumps and Sarah delivers her alluring “speaking in tongues” vocal treatment. There is something hypnotic and glorious about this wintry selection that pays homage to bands like Cocteau Twins and Beach House. The sardonically named Karate Kid features a new sonic feature for the band; a faster tempo as the loud rock intro then merges into Wozniak’s emerging trademark sound. This alluring concoction of shoegazery is loaded with shimmering guitar pedal work and deep throated bass that produces a winning track.
Bone Caves slows down the tempo from Karate Kid with a swirling sonic that presents a mesmerizing soundscape harkened forth by a magnificent bass line and resounding ice cut guitar. This track again captures the listener engulfing them in the wonder of the layered musical miasma. The first official release off the EP Twin Sirens begins quietly but packs a punch at about two-minute mark with a sudden explosion of intensity. The track attempts to relate what infinity might sound like with intricate guitar work and glorious effects.
The track Rilke, named for the Bohemian Austrian Poet Rainer Maria Rilke, is resplendent with a sonic intensity that mirrors the lyrical impact he was famous for in his poems. The hammering of the bass can be felt in your chest. The banks of guitar noise are akin to a primal scream and deliver both drama and catharsis. The final offering Deceiver begins with a sole chiming guitar and at the two-minute mark Sarah’s vocal kicks in with the full band. If I have one slight criticism of the EP is that it needed more of Sarah’s haunting vocal treatments throughout the tracks. On Deceiver a healthy slice of her singular vocal stylings is provided making the stellar track breathtaking. Deceiver is at first a more low key and less bombastic selection than the other five songs until the six-minute mark where it bursts into a fantastic panorama of heady goodness. It is a brilliant send off to the EP and one that sticks with the listener long this all too brief effort is finished.
Wozniak with The Space Between The Trees continues to polish and refine their sound making it more and more alluring. You can simply plug into their offerings and float away. I suggest headphones to truly appreciate everything that is taking place on each track. The band won me over to their cause with their 2015 effort Auster and I have become increasingly impressed with each new release. The Space Between The Trees is an outstanding effort that reflects the genius of its creators. I can think of no band more worthy to lead the second wave of Shoegaze; they represent all that is good in the genre. I wait with anticipation for their next full-length play.