Pikes Peak EP

Written by: BV on 28/05/2014 19:32:19

Sometime during early 2014, possibly even before, Wozniak appeared on my radar. Initially introduced to their music through a friend of mine, I immediately realized there was something about this band that I should keep my eye out for. The single they had released at that point was, to be entirely fair, not all that interesting to me. It had its rough edges and in terms of songwriting it was rather bland. But I still felt like there was potential in the massive soundscapes they could seemingly conjure up. Then realizing that their recent crowdfunding efforts had come through – resulting in a release, I immediately made sure that I would receive a copy. “Pikes Peak” is the title of Wozniak’s very first EP and it will be the focus point of this review.

Opening with the absolutely stunning “El Maresme”, it would seem that Wozniak have improved quite a bit in terms of songwriting craft – without compromising on their lush soundscapes. As such, the ethereal and otherworldly guitar-parts get meticulously layered on top of a strong rhythm section that provides the groove and force needed to drive the tracks forward so as not to drown out in completely lush, albeit repetitive soundscapes. Although there is an alluring vocal presence on the track, I would not call “El Maresme” a song. – Rather, I would call it a piece not unlike what I have dubbed the efforts of Papir before. There is something about the soundscape that transcends the boundaries of a ‘song’ which transforms “El Maresme” into a ‘piece’.

The same seems to be the case with “Kreuzberg” which, albeit lacking the immediate appeal of “El Maresme” and “Paper Hat”, also comes to unfold itself as a grandiose effort at sculpting heavily effect-laden guitars on top of the underplayed rhythmic efforts of the band. If there is a profound weakness to the EP, it would possibly be that these constructs yet seem to lack the explorative element of other, highly successful, instrumental acts like Papir, Electric Moon or Causa Sui. Granted, there is an immense emphasis on shoegazing and post-rock present here, but the psychedelic presence seems to, if anything, be an invitation to compare these pieces of music with some of the absolute greats within instrumental psych these days.

However, when all is said and done I still firmly believe that Wozniak have crafted a surprisingly strong debut EP which contains a not entirely unique, yet highly fascinating blend of post-rock, shoegaze and psychedelic instrumental rock. I hope they will eventually be able to top this EP as the potential is there. It’s all a matter of how they decide to channel it.

Download: El Maresme, Paper Hat, Gesamtkunstwerk
For the fans of: Papir, Mogwai, My Bloody Valentine
Listen: Facebook

Release date 09.06.2014
Morningside Young Team Records

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