Thursday 18 October 2012

Wazu - Robobo

Album review by KevW

Are Wazu a rehash, an update or an evolution? It's slightly difficult to tell and they'll probably be described as all three depending on who you talk to. Their debut album 'Robobo' draws from a wide range of influences, not least the less sugary side of 80s pop; Depeche Mode, Bauhaus and Eurythmics are cited as reference points, but then so are Duran Duran. The sounds this Australian pair make don't seem to have a great deal in common with Simon Le Bon and his mates; there is a pop edge to what they do but it's nothing like as commercial and user-friendly. When you factor in two more modern references they give us, Nine Inch Nails and The xx, then you begin to build a better picture of what we're dealing with.

It's interesting that these proponents of modern industrial pop have chosen to co-produce their record with Kevin McMahon (Titus Andronicus, Real Estate, Swans, The Walkmen) and Rick Parker (Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, The Hangmen), two men who are well versed in updating past sounds with a modern twist, although their most recognisable works are by experimental guitar bands rather than electronica and pop, but such experienced hands will surely know a thing or two about most sounds out there. This choice of studio hands goes some way further to explaining just what it is Wazu want to do and the result is a fusion of many sounds, resulting in something fairly unique but not without contemporaries.

You could throw in comparisons to Crystal Castles and fellow Aussi expats The Death Set. They don't deal in quite as extreme noise terrorism as those bands (except for maybe 'Symbol System') but share common ancestors. The tight beats and chiming guitars and synths on 'Councillor' and 'I Think I Remeber' and the processed punk of 'It's A Trick' are a collage of previous bands pieced together to make a new one. There are big pop melodies to be found here too, 'Show Your Skin' and 'I'll Take You Over' being particularly memorable, along with the retro sounding 'Bugsatio'. There is a dark element to what they do, and track names like 'Bones', 'Ghost Years' and 'It's A Trick' are nicely suited to a Halloween release. With such a wide range of sounds combining on 'Robobo' we're left to conclude that Wazu are definitely an evolution, and a pretty good one at that.

WAZU Councillor from WAZU on Vimeo.

Free download: 'Councillor'
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Wazu's website

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