Woolf: Posing / Improvising 12" (new)

La Vida Es Un Mus


t's been four years since Woolf unleashed their debut album, The Right Way to Play also on La Vida Es Un Mus and described as a “pungent spit on the face of musical normality”. Now they're back with a dystopian revision of feminist queer punk. Born out of South London's squats and social centres, all but erased in recent years by the Tory government, the four-piece have produced an album conveying alienation and activist fury, the opening track “Civilisation” setting the tone with the (rhetorical) question “is this what they call civilisation?”. Wall of sound guitar distortion provides a backdrop for a commanding, minimalist bass and insistent drums, with vocals that straddle the line between anxiety and paganity. It’s 11 unsettling songs in 11 uncompromising minutes, recalling the experimentation of no wave bands such as UT distorted by a raw punk aesthetic. (Melissa Steiner)

Our take: I liked Woolf's debut album, which came out four years ago on LVEUM, but at the same time I recognized that it was probably too artsy for some people, maybe even me at times. Posing/Improvising changes that dynamic somewhat, retaining one foot firmly in the world of fine art (several of these songs apparently started out as the soundtrack to an independent film) but this time around seeming to have a much clearer connection to the contemporary punk scene, the London scene in particular. If Good Throb are like a rambunctious, hormonal 12-year-old and Primetime are the sheik, elegant undergraduate, then Woolf is the family misfit, the outsider who is a little more cerebral and introverted... harder to get to know but possessing a different kind of depth. As one might expect from this kind of self-consciously artsy music, it is forward-pushing in a way that puts them in stark contrast to today's retro-oriented bands. Of course you can hear strains of various quirky, feminist punk from the Slits to the Raincoats to various other Rough Trade bands and beyond, but this is also heavy and raw in a way that would really only make sense in the year 2016. It's a brilliant album that will take a little bit of unpacking to make sense of, but there's so much here... and most gratifyingly of all, it gives you the sense of punk actually moving forward. Highly recommended.
Tags: 10s female-fronted post-punk punk raw recommended yoobl