Song of the day – 98: Woom
(The following is taken from Drowned In Sound.)
Xiu Xiu’s tourmates, Woom, are tremendous, right now. In fact, they’re so obviously Everett True’s Favourite New Band in the World, someone should tell him. Yes, the net result of their influences (or, more accurately, their raw intuition) ends up somewhere like Young Marble Giants, but it’s our YMG, for the 21st century (actual influences, according to Sara: Terry Riley, Bridget Fontaine, 1970s performance art guru Jerome Rothenberg). Between them, Sara and Eben clack woodblocks, manipulate samples, and drive around massive blasts of bass the way Scout Niblett plays drums. Vocal hooks and melodic guitar lines are dropped in periodically, but more like samples than the bones of the songs. They’re NOT, in any respect, “amniotic” – they sculpt space, as in air, with sounds that are staccato, irregular, angular, never liquid. Their best “songs” sound like the moment that ideas came together for Thriller, or “Into the Groove(y)”, the Sonic Youth version. Having moved in sync, improvising dances more like Tai Chi, the pair finally harmonize on a song as pretty, perfect, and effortless, as Beat Happening’s “Indian Summer”. There’s a rush to the back of the room to ask Howdyoudothat?!
Well, thank you Alexander Tudor.
For the record, I don’t hear much Young Marble Giants or Calvin Johnson. Folk always erroneously assume that because something is minimal or quiet it automatically sounds like something else minimal or quiet. That’s like assuming Iron Maiden sound like Swans sound like Afrirampo sound like Oasis because they’re loud… this is way more weird Americana than early 80s spooked Gothic, but kudos to Alexander for thinking of me. I certainly do hear ‘Into The Groove(y)’ though, and a touch of Clive Pig and Miu Miu, some Holly Golightly and former Careless Talk Costs Lives cover stars Young People even. Sara’s list of ‘actual’ influences seem spot on to me, actually. I can imagine the dancing, the fun, the woodblocks – atmospherics, and a sound that is not tied even vaguely to one era. I guess you could call it cute, but only because it’s melodic and inventive and sweetly surreal and wonderfully, blissfully refreshing.
The music does all that Alexander claims for it above, and more.
So are they my Favourite New Band in the World right now? Damn straight.