wears the trousers magazine

uuvvwwz: uuvvwwz (2009)
August 9, 2009, 11:35 am
Filed under: album, review | Tags: , , ,


Saddle Creek

Yes’m, the band name UUVVWWZ is, at first, quite the shocker – when surveying it with a quick eye and little time, the string of letters brings to mind a union subcommittee searching for a title in the dregs of alphabet soup. But this musical group didn’t aim to produce some wind-up abbreviation. Rather, the name was chosen for its rhythmic purposes and satisfying appearance on the surface of a brown paper bag. For clarification, the band provides a pronunciation guide, “double you double vee double double you zee”, and a convenient, abbreviated double unit, in the form of two Us bending towards each other like a magician’s oversized silver rings. The Nebraska-based band consists of four talented young musicians spinning themselves into something extraordinary: Jim Schroeder slapping and strumming the guitar, Tom Ambroz playing on drums, Dustin Wilbourn stroking the bass and Teal Gardner weaving them together with her vocals.

The album begins with ‘Berry Can’, a song perhaps best performed in a forest clearing where rebel nymphs might dance. Gardner repeats over and over that “I like the blackberries, ’cause they cannot entangle me” and proceeds to state that she is, alternatively, “your sister” or “your teacher” in the clear streams of her voice. This song is a silvery meditation perhaps on nature, by nature, or even both with instrumental interludes where bass and percussion form some cohesive chaos while Schroeder’s guitar clashes through thorn bushes of chords. Another highlight of the album also crafts a unique environment in ‘Neolaño’, probably an ancient wooden ship trapped in stale air, where the crew pines for movement and disembarkation from the sea. This song sounds like underwater jazz: the bass here is bloated and wet, while Gardner’s voice takes on a reverberating, deep timbre unseen in other noisier, angrier tracks. ‘Trapezeus’, a song with a bouncing voice and a refrain that grows increasingly dishevelled, justifies its theme-and-variations technique through the title. Leaping arcs carry the notes up to Zeus and down to a trapeze that seems perpetually pressured, ready to propel the listener forth. ‘The Sun’, further along on the listing, slowly and carefully recreates the hours of scorching, unbearably humidity, where the atmosphere is “hot to death”, and both lyrics and instrumentation are themselves heavy and parched.

These four songs deliberate on their content, rolling the image on their tongues and back, adding flavour through Gardner’s versatile vocal abilities and the band’s concentrated playing. With labels and lyrics that speak of Cirque Du Soleil dreams, the songs explore the ice, warmth and half-realms of human musical capacity so that an ethereal fog forms around each track, carrying it away from an easily identifiable genre. The same dilemma applies to the latter tracks that scatter to and fro, layering sounds and cymbals. As a debut album, UUVVWWZ searches for an identity through a sampling of songs prepared shortly after the band’s formation in 2007. The only lacking portion that remains is a heaping of experience, a teaspoon of unifying, essentially unique musical elements, and a pinch of unrefined flour to carry them through the rough of the music industry. In any case, UUVVWWZ has already got the name part covered.

Dalia Wolfson
UK release date: 27/07/09; www.myspace.com/uuvvwwz


Leave a Comment so far
Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: