Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Album Review: Woom -- Muu's Way

Beginning 6 years ago as Fertile Crescent, and reemerging recently as WOOM, Sara Magenheimer and Eben Portnoy have collaborated to create a feverishly different take on the Female-Male duo. Don’t think The White Stripes or The Moldy Peaches (although the simplistic approach of the aforementioned and the playfulness of the latter do resonate); WOOM is a very different beast altogether, echoing the electronic rhythm of Panda Bear as much as the sundrenched, lo-fi pop of Jonquil, while, in the end, sounding nothing like either. Additionally, gaining comparison to Young Marble Giants and early Velvet Underground, yet touring with bands like Deerhoof and Xiu Xiu, the band has proved nearly impossible to pinpoint stylistically, and their debut LP Muu’s Way presents this sonic amalgamation perfectly.

From the harmonized, dusty-drummed, sing-alongs of “Backwards Beach” and “Back In” to the instrumental morning-blues of “Under Muu”; from the male-led, hopeful folk of “Sister” to the somber sparseness of “Foggy Dew”, which features nothing but female vocals, a whisper of bass, and the chirping of nocturnal animals (listening again, are those frogs?), Muu’s Way never allows itself a moment of repetition or stagnation. Every track offers something unexpectedly different from that before it, yet the album as a whole has a cohesion rooted in their distinct aesthetic direction. With 10 tracks clocking in at about a half hour, the album is a small gem, a serious effort that remains laughingly light-hearted, echoing beyond its playing time.

WOOM is touring now with Xiu Xiu. Muu’s Way will be released on June 28th on BaDaBing Records. In the meantime, you can buy their self-released 7” by e-mailing contactwoom@gmail.com.

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