This ‘Herbcraft’ article was written by Zoe Anderson, a GIGsoup contributor
Herbcraft’s newest LP is a wistful, psychedelic triumph. Wot Oz has a refreshingly strange sound which manages to be both dreamy and blissfully eerie at the same time. Indeed, the whole LP is very reminiscent of the Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon, and features some drum and guitar rhythms that are inspired heavily by 70s Krautrock. Vocalist Matt Lajoies, has been quietly performing under the alias Curillistas for a number of years. His neo-folk grooves are much more rustic sounding than Herbcraft’s records, but you can certainly pin point the ambient sounds that have inspired this record. Observe Ember Weeks in particular includes some drone and noise elements that are also prevalent in Wot Oz. With new members Joe Lindsay (drums) and Aaron Neveu (bass) the trio are enjoying more exposure than ever before, and are about to embark on a large American tour.
Wot Oz has an evocative, meandering mood which is irresistibly ambient. Wavy guitars and sonic synth sounds create a real landscape of the surreal, which complements Lajoies odd, heavily altered vocals perfectly. As Curillistas, Lajoie’s voice played an important role in the progression and mood his records. In Wot Oz however, his vocals blend with the other instruments seamlessly, making them more of a subtle atmospheric device than the main event.
The tripped-out space sounds of Wot Oz feel like an affection throwback to the early Kraftwerk albums. Tracks such as No More Doors drip with strange artificial noises, which feature in a lot of the late 70s Krautrock tracks. In true Krautrock style, Wot Oz is smooth, wonderfully executed and manages to marry some extremely weird sounds together beautifully.
It’s hard to criticise this very solid and wonderfully imaginative record. Yes, the middle tracks are rather lengthy; but this would appear to be a deliberate effort to create a psychedelic atmosphere. In these tracks the listener’s sense of time is distorted and warped significantly, and thus adds more of a trippy feel to the LP. Wot Oz is indeed a delight to experience; it paints a beautiful, colourful story without even using stand out vocals.