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Released: August 21, 2015
There are some bands that you listen to and know exactly what they are going for from the moment the record starts turning, Herbcraft is not that band. Stretching 6 songs out to a sprawling near 45 minutes Herbcraft’s fourth long player Wot Oz takes you on a sonic journey to a land where pop has truly eaten itself. This three-piece band has discovered just how far one can unlace jazz and rock’s foundations stretching just to the point where music ends and noise begins. Every listen through this record leaves a new taste on the tongue as you unravel its layers and Wot Oz becomes less of a question and more of a journey to a new found land. A land that intentionally pushes every boundary it can find in a smoky lava lamp induced haze. There is no notion of this record being made for mass consumption, but instead Herbcraft has made a record that is a record for being a records sake.
Wot Oz is what could have happened if Crass and The Birthday Party had decided to team up and create a jazz album for Marina Abramovic installation featuring an Andy Warhol film. On first listen the sprawling almost free jazz number “Fit Ur-Head” stands out with it’s over 10 minutes of pure abuse of a wah-wah pedal. I almost wrote this review focusing 100% on the crazy wah-way use as this is the element that really stood out on first listen. The more listens I give Wot Oz though, the more “Push Thru the Veil” becomes the track I gravitate towards with its driving bass line and tribal rhythms. It’s the track where the guitars move aside and the meat of Herbcraft shows its muscle the most. If there’s one complaint I have with Wot Oz it’s that most of the record sounds like it is a practice with Matt Lajoie laying down guitar riffs over Aaron Neveu and Joe Lindsey’s strong rhythm section.
Wot Oz is an album that is proudly stretching outside of the normal. It is primitive with its mono ¼” tape and 4-track cassette recording method not allowing for any modernization. It is primal in its touching the edges of rock, punk and jazz without actually settling anywhere. If you are in the mood to listen to a record that will challenge you, give Wot Oz a spin.
Reviewed by: Rob 1340