Wozniak – Courage Reels

The debut album from Edinburgh quartet Wozniak, a long awaited debut after a series of stunning EPs and singles. The band comprise of Simon Cuthbert-Kerr (guitar), James Urquhart (bass), John Sinclair (drums), and Sarah Cuthbert-Kerr (guitar, vocals).

The first listen was cathartic and an experience not unlike being stood on a cliff edge in a storm.  Sounding more post-rock than shoegaze, the album is mostly instrumental with some long tracks.  I will try to refrain from drawing comparisons with fellow Scotsmen Mogwai

The opener Shader starts off straight into a constant fuzzed out wall of distortion with bright ringing guitars breaking through. The pace shifts but the distortion is relentless. Ghosting starts off gentler but builds up to a chaotic finale which even has some vocals from Sarah.

My favourite song on the album is Super Panther.  The quieter parts have a real sense of urgency and suspense.  It is a soundtrack for a film that has not been made yet.  The bass and drums propel this song through the very heavy guitars.  Scottish Dancer is different from the rest of the album as it was vocals mostly throughout and a verse-chorus structure.  The cold vocals and washes of ghostly noise give this song a hazy dreamlike quality.

The closing track Death Suit starts off as stripped back song with hardly any effects, a Wozniak unplugged.  It is focused on the interplay of the instruments and the steady build up of layers of melody.  Until distorted guitars crash in at 2 minutes into the song, they continue to appear and then disappear leaving parts without any feedback really stark and bare.

Courage Reels is an elemental force not dressed up as anything else or trying to be anyone else.  It is beautiful by it’s sheer power and force.


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