When The Past Arrives
It’s an album you swim through – as much as listen to. It’s a new collection by Woo – but that means it’s all old recordings, bits and pieces, leftovers even; for Woo is now a new-seeming act and this has been put together as a new album, on the back of rediscovery, on the back of reissues of the British band’s albums from the 1980s.
Imagine Cluster and Penguin Café Orchestra finding common ground, imagine Durutti Column writing gentle pop song whimsy (The Garden Path) one minute and then disguising big ideas in gorgeous, languid, loping, fuzzy, dinner jazz that’s dressed up in the esoterica of today, tomorrow and yesteryear (Glip Glop).
The standout here – by miles – is Satya. At nine minutes it packs in enough to almost be an album itself. It’s everything great Penguin Café Orchestra ever did. It almost feels like one of the early Split Enz songs for a bit there. And then it’s off and swirling and crawling toward nostalgia radio show material via Jack Nietzsche’s soundtrack/soundscape ideas. (Actually I did think about Bradford Cox’s doco soundtrack, Teenage more than once). Satya arrives after the intro piece, the barely 2-minute First Night Nerves which has a Blue Nile luminescence married to a jittery easy-tab version of Michael Hedges.
Elsewhere there’s Philip Glass making nice with noodling (1001 Decisions), Mike Oldfield’s best textures and ideas correctly arranged – and trimmed (Life So Far) and faux jazz (Ruby) mingles with little bubbles of ambient joy (Distant Consequences). There’s almost too much here. An embarrassment of riches. Wonderful. Well and truly wooed!