Review Summary: Wot?...
Halifax indie rockers Wot Gorilla are a strange beast. A veritable Frankenstein’s monster of sorts, one can hear a plethora of other bands in their sound, from Tides of Man, Arctic Monkeys, Ghosts and Vodka, even Coheed and Cambria. This channeling of different sounds may or may not be intentional but one thing is certain, it’s mighty impressive and a pleasing experience to listen to. This brand of indie style math rock is tried and true yet Wot Gorilla adds more than enough wrinkles in the formula for the listener to warrant an earnest listen while simultaneously not alienating fans of the genre.
The band incorporates a unique style of mathy noodling with prog-esque interludes a la Between the Buried and Me to produce a very novel sound. While the epic conclusion “Snow White” is the greatest example of this fresh sound, songs like “Afraid of the Dark” and “Holy B’Jesus” also showcase this dynamic well. Due to the impact these moments have within the record, impatience can set in waiting for the next instance to occur but this can hardly be called a negative against the record. The instruments are all well-played and fairly technical with plenty of the start-stop moments and time signature changes that math-rock is known for. The guitars for the most part have no distortion and save for the rare breakdown, have the job of carrying you briskly and seamlessly through the songs. The bass and drums are also handled extremely well, particularly in songs like “Suspects” that has every instrument taking the spotlight at one time or another.
The vocalist is the part of the band most reminiscent of Coheed and Cambria. Both of them hold the jobs of both guitarist and lead singer as well as sport the higher pitched voices and use similar melodies at times. This can be very hit or miss to some listeners but the vocals never get screechy or whiny. A very pleasant surprise comes at the end of “Snow White” which shows off the only screaming section of the record which is well executed yet only having one screaming section in the whole record can make this one seem out of place.
Not much wrong can be said about Wot Gorilla’s debut LP. From the excellent instrumentation to the novelty of the music itself, this record has a lot going for it and shows nothing but upside for the band. Historically progressive math rock such as this has had the adjectives “pretentious” or “artificial” thrown at it a lot with its long periods of noodling guitars played in a perceived attempt to sound technical. While Kebnekaise
has these periods, they can hardly be called artificial as the energy is evident throughout the entire record, and as everyone knows, energy is the most important ingredient in making good music.