The eclectic and psychedelic act out of Cardiff, known as WoodooMan, is set to release their latest album, Y Nos. With something of a throwback vibe, the band puts substance in the forefront, and they worship at the altar of experimentation. That’s not to say their music is without structure, as if you listen closely enough, you will hear the faintest Beatles influence. Moreover, the band’s creative driver, Iwan Ap Huw Morgan, seems to have a love for all things from 60s psychedelia, that has gone unappreciated. A self-professed veteran of the Cardiff music scene , it’s easy to hear how seasoned of a songwriter Morgan is on Y Nos.
On “Dust Again,” WoodooMan show that they are a breed apart with a subliminally hypnotic arrangement. The song makes you feel as if you slipped into a lucid coma, in the midst of a time warp. Backup Vocalist, Kate Wood gives a performance that is both angelic and benignly foreboding. Channeling Barret-era Pink Floyd, Morgan proves the effectiveness of a repetitive chord progression, deceptively luring us into a false sense of dynamics. This is an early example of what makes this record worth the time.
Down by the water/I love you forever. “Father Sun” is a cheeky play on words and a double entendre of sorts. Musically, it sounds as if The Brady Bunch dropped acid in a slightly sullen mood, then launched into a musical number. Not the most bombastic song on Y Nos, “Father Sun,” contributes to the album’s depth. It shows that Morgan has a unique sense of melody, but a keen sense, nonetheless.
A more than competent track, “Long Time Ago,” makes the best use of a wah pedal, since perhaps Jimmy Page did on “Hurdy Gurdy Man.” As an opener, this one lends credibility to WoodooMan and what they loosely profess themselves to be. Morgan’s vocal is both assuring and detached, capturing that all important Aquarian energy for this genre. “Long Time Ago,” straps us in for the ride we are about to take. It perfectly sets the tone and tenor for Y Nos.
“In The Night,” makes an attempt to foray into Folky territory, but misses the mark by a substantial margin. You can hear what Morgan and company were going for here, but it’s a hat that just isn’t him. Whereas the band seemed to want to capture something with delicacy and a splash of mysticism, it ultimately comes off a bit campy. On a positive note, the guitars are gorgeously tuned and they do create a sort of visual ambience. Conceptually, “In The Night,” takes the right approach, but is somewhat underwhelming.
At 9 tracks there is much more to explore on Y Nos, than is covered here. The record is like a psychedelic forest in the heart of Wales, that beckons your uninhibited exploration. We should be thanking WoodooMan for keeping a genre alive, that would otherwise be in the witness protection program. This is a band who has paid its dues and has little to gain outside of a satisfied passion for art. Show your appreciation for these preservationists of vestige, by checking out Y Nos.
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