WOMBO – ” Fairy Rust “

Posted: August 3, 2022 in MUSIC

Light and dark are balanced perfectly on this Louisville trio’s excellent second album. Louisville, KY trio Wombo have created their own appealing, unique blend of post-punk on their perfectly titled second album, “Fairy Rust”, that is dark and light, dissonant and beautiful, complex and immediate all at the same time. These are songs that would bewitch even as an instrumental album; slithering basslines, spiderweb guitar work full of spooky harmonics and jazzy muscular drumming recall a wide swatch of 1981, from The Cure and Siouxsie to Young Marble Giants and The Slits. But guitarist Sydney Chadwick’s vocals — clear and breathy — pull everything into the sunshine.

‘Fairy Rust,’ the new album from Wombo (Sydney Chadwick, Cameron Lowe, Joel Taylor), contemplates the spaces in-between, a meeting of the physicality of the land with the fluidity of the imagination, to uncanny effect. Across twelve tracks, sharpened guitar work, distorted freak outs and downtempo musings see the trio make a sonic leap forward into new and transformative places. Conceived over the course of the last two years, ‘Fairy Rust’ plays on this preoccupation with fantasy (“especially in a time where people are seeming to gravitate towards these kinds of stories”), and the resulting record sounds like no one else.

“Below the House” was inspired by the folklore of Chadwick’s unconsciousness, and is about the intangible ties that ground us in our surroundings. Although the band was inspired by the rust belt and agricultural landscapes that permeate the background of their hometown of Louisville throughout the recording process, Wombo’s music is also imbued with the ephemeral quality of being shaken awake from a dream. There’s unassuming clues and hidden messages scattered across the album, where references to doors, windows and walls play with the idea that while scenery can change, home remains a grounding point. Tracing out melodies before incorporating vocals, bits and pieces of lyrics are gradually assembled creating a framework that transcends a simple bassline or guitar part, Wombo weave together a tapestry of sound that’s both intoxicating and effortless, where one minute it’s all deadpan post-punk energy, and the next Stereolab on a mountain top.

The music functions as their own localized language that feels uniquely out-of-body. “Another time around / another time around and around,” Chadwick intones in “Blackflip,” a dizzyingly propulsive number where the trio’s interlocking instrumentals propelled by Chadwick’s vocals build on top of one another in an exhilarating tailspin.

“Backflip” was inspired by a freeway drive with Chadwick’s grandmother, where she turned to her in the passenger seat and wondered aloud: “we’re all just gonna meet ourselves at the end of this, aren’t we?” The single itself accelerates while Chadwick’s eerie vocals twist and guide the piercing guitar into strange and inviting new sonic explorations. Time itself is a construct that’s constantly revisited during ‘Fairy Rust,’ and many of the songs are set in a fading twilight ambiance that’s ambiguously watercolour, a portal of potential where anything goes. “Evening looms beyond my view,” Chadwick sings in “7 of Cups”, the sprawling final track that gesticulates to a horizon that’s a signpost to an unimaginable future.

Wombo stress that the unknown is key to the ongoing journey of self-discovery. The future cannot be predicted, and ambiguity should be understood as a crucial part of life. According to Chadwick, “endings are always beyond my level of understanding or comprehending, or knowing at all. I wanted to end the album with that kind of message, that the mysteries in life are not to be solved but experienced and respected, to be kept at a distance.” With ‘Fairy Rust’ the band present one moment of fragile time that reverberates throughout human experience. 

released July 29th, 2022

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