This Wovoka Gentle article was written by Ben Kendall, a GIGsoup contributor. Edited by Natalie Whitehouse.
A follow up to their debut EP ‘Wovoka Gentle EP (Yellow)’ released in July 13th of this year, only four months later the London-based experimental folk three-piece Wovoka Gentle have dropped their second EP ‘Wovoka Gentle EP (Blue)’
The EP is packed with some serious musical excellence. It opens with ‘Likeness’ and an immediate array of multi-layered synth pads and string instruments, creating psychedelic and ambient soundscapes which are explored throughout the EP. This is followed by fast finger-picking guitar work and folky vocals, backed by a drum beat you’d think was taken straight out of an electronica song with the same bpm, and placed in this seemingly opposite style of music.
This juxtaposition of folk/Americana song writing and instrumentation with psychedelic influenced sound manipulation is exactly what makes this EP, and Wovoka Gentle, so interesting and exciting to listen to. The content of the tracks constantly vary from sonic exploration, primarily dominated by ambient-style drones and fuzzy synth melodies and motifs, to stripped down folk guitar with simple vocal melodies which takes a ‘back to basics’ approach to instrumentation. Though when these two worlds collide in these songs, it works so incredibly well and Wovoka Gentle pull this off so effortlessly.
The second track ‘Peace Is Its Own Reward’ is largely driven by a thumping country-style bass drum with garage rock-like guitar and synth melodies, resonating a similar vibe to Black Rebel Motorcycle Club’s ‘Beat The Devil’s Tattoo’. ‘Radio Track (Unaired)’ follows on with not too much standing out compared to the other tracks; slow train-like chugging guitar and drums under overly-fuzzed out vocals. However it still remains a relatively enjoyable listen, and the slightly weaker beginning is made up for as the song progresses into a lush refrain of layered synths and harmonized vocals.
The fourth track ‘Light Within Light’ is an ambient instrumental of heavily delayed guitars with softly spoken voice samples heard vaguely underneath, which can be interpreted as slightly eerie or soothing depending on the listener, but nevertheless a pleasant and well-orchestrated track with no intention to showcase any unnecessary flashy musical skills. The EP closes with ‘You Have Saved Our Lives, We Are Eternally Grateful’, an upbeat track featuring a strummed ukulele, under a simple guitar melody and whistling which can be easily imagined in a TV advert. The song also features a soprano vocal duet repeating small lyrical ideas reminiscent of minimalist music, forming together for a grand and engaging listen.
Wovoka Gentle are prove to be a unique and bold act with this EP, producing a more ambitious and well-rounded sound than their debut ‘Yellow’ EP in such a short time span. Containing everything from classic folk sensibilities, experimental synth work and even the occasional hard-rock distorted guitar section. There’s something for everyone to be intrigued by and Wovoka Gentle very well may be a band to look out for in 2016.
‘Wovoka Gentle EP (Blue)’ is out now via Yucatan Records.