Recorded by Nick Roeder in the band’s hometown of Louisville, Wombo’s new EP Slab is a loose, instinctual grouping of songs that gradually morph into sonic territory that’s at once familiar to those already indoctrinated with the band’s experimental doses of surrealist escapism; as well as sweeter, stripped-down shapes.
Most of the guitar parts from the EP are scratch takes that fit both the dueling energies and intentional imperfections of the songs, with overlaid vocals recorded on the same day. The result is an of-the-moment snapshot of a band that’s both settling naturally into a sound all their own while still remaining in constant evolution. The trio of Sydney Chadwick, Cameron Lowe, and Joel Taylor sound more comfortable than ever, guiding the listener through a cohesive framework of peculiar hymns in a language only they can translate.
Lead single “Slab” was inspired by a book Chadwick read about disassociation, and came from improvising lyrics in the band’s basement practice space. The song perfects the Wombo formula of simple, unexpected lyrical metaphors wound up in complex instrumentation, tracing unusually catchy melodies that get stuck in your head. Originally made to be a solo piece on piano, “Thread” is filled with unassuming layers that transform the song’s outward simplicity into something both transient and spellbinding. Chadwick’s low-key delivery makes her melancholic sentiments (“who was singing about loneliness?”) universally grounding.
“In Situ” (the title of which comes from an archeology term meaning finding something in its original last position of use) imbues some of compelling live energy that permeates the band’s sets, while “Wolfe Ave 40” is perhaps the broadest departure yet from Wombo’s catalog, an intimate ditty written on Chadwick’s nylon string guitar. “I listened to her and we found there were things to share,” Chadwick elucidates. It’s in these quiet moments of revelation that Wombo shine the brightest: like awakening from a dream, glimmering with hope and reset intention.