Wot Gorilla? – ‘Angel Numbers’

By Mark Johnson

Since the release of their superb debut album ‘Kebnekaise’ in 2012 it’s been a little too quiet in the Wot Gorilla? camp. They’ve shown enough signs of life to reassure us they’re still a band with two-track release ‘…and then there were three…’ in 2016, as well as singles ‘Joints’ and ‘Skiddaw’, but ‘Angel Numbers’ is their first substantial release in the last five years. And it doesn’t disappoint. The Gorilla has awoken with a stunning return to form.

The bass-heavy production of opening track ‘Kikuna’ brings to mind another band’s comeback record: Glassjaw’s 2011 EP ‘Our Color Green’. The heavy undertone brings the same level of raw power and grit to the record that made Glassjaw’s effort stand out, but that’s where the similarity ends. Wot Gorilla? add their signature style of math rock to the template, bringing complex musicianship and intrigue with intricate riffs and quirky time-signatures. The heavier riffs and screamed vocals are more prominent than in the band’s previous work, making ‘Angel Numbers’ leap out the speakers from the first note.

’11:11′ leads with a riff that would make The Fall of Troy proud, before progressing into a style more recognisable from the ‘Kebnekaise’ days. Ever dynamic in their songwriting, the band rarely repeat sections, yet there’s an underlying riff that ties everything together and the smooth vocals provide a warm melodic contrast.

The softer instrumentals of ‘Watch Out for the Tentacles!’ allow Mat Haigh’s voice to shine before ‘Noise. Smort.’ brings The Fall of Troy vibes back, sounding like something that could’ve come from the ‘Manipulator’ writing sessions.

It’s clear that Wot Gorilla? have plenty of creativity left to play with and ‘Angel Numbers’ shows without a doubt that their execution is as sharp as ever. With the heavier undertones of ‘Kikune’ and ’11:11′, ‘Angel Numbers’ is arguably their best material to date, giving reassurance that not only is there plenty of life left in the band, their best work could still be yet ahead of them. With live dates going in the calendar as well, including a slot at this year’s ArcTanGent festival, hopefully the band can keep this momentum going. On the strength of this EP, there’s plenty of desire to hear more from this hugely talented trio.

MARK JOHNSON

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