Saturday, February 12, 2011

New Album: Wo Fat - Noche Del Chupacabra

I was really excited to get the newest album by Wo Fat, intriguingly named Noche Del Chupacabra, but then I realized that I didn't remember what the group actually sounded like - aside from stoner/groove - because I hadn't listened to them in almost exactly a year (and well before I started taking The Guide seriously). So I preambled this album by listening to their discography, hearing both The Gathering Dark and Psychedelonaut over the two days prior to hearing Noche Del Chupacabra, which I think gives me a better understanding of this, the group's newest release.

The thing I've noticed, over Wo Fat's discography - which holds true for Noche Del Chupacabra - is that the group can put out some really great songs.... then follow them up directly with some really dull ones. It seems every album is plastered 50/50 with these sonic extremes. I found "Bayou Juju" uninspired and boring, sounding more like a garage band then a triple-release act, but enjoyed the shit out of "Descent Into The Maelstrom," which had some substance and layering to it. That work of art is followed directly by the 'sort of interesting' "Common Ground," and then immediately by "Phantasmagoria" which is a semi-psychedelic, repetitive, sort-of-droning song. The final song, the title track, is likewise semi-psychedelic, but in this case I can find it interesting; the song rises from nothingness into a groove-laden song and story. A great way to end any album, I just wish there was more substance to the songs before.

Well, at least you know what you're going to get with Wo Fat. Sure some of it may be filler and seemingly-under produced, but the songs that make it through the muck, go with grace and glory. From the groups beginnings to the current year, songs are back-to-back with over-exposed vocals and drab guitar work, to catchy vocals, witty lyrics and some grooving melodies, it's all just a bit odd to me. Also, Noche Del Chupacabra is their shortest album by far; coming up almost thirty minutes behind both of their previous releases. I thought I had a messed up copy when only five tracks came up on my computer, but no, that is correct. I guess I was expecting more from the group - both musically and in length - but this album was only so-so. Some high-points, some low, but not enough substance to truly take it the distance.

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