Wormwood

Wormwood

5.0 1
by moe.
     
 

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Is it live or is it Memorex? The answer to that question isn't so simple when it comes to the tenth album by this enduring jam-rock combo. Wormwood's songs were largely recorded live, with the concert tapes then deconstructed and tweaked in the studio. Rather than the Frankensteinian concoction they could've been, the results add up to moe's best effort to dateSee more details below

Overview

Is it live or is it Memorex? The answer to that question isn't so simple when it comes to the tenth album by this enduring jam-rock combo. Wormwood's songs were largely recorded live, with the concert tapes then deconstructed and tweaked in the studio. Rather than the Frankensteinian concoction they could've been, the results add up to moe's best effort to date. The energy of the concert stage shoots through the opening "Not Coming Down," a blues-tinged rocker that skirts Gov't Mule territory before settling into a Creedence-flavored groove. As peripatetic as ever, the band scamper all over the sonic spectrum, unearthing some dazzling gems like "Rumble Strip," which reconciles the artier side of Wilco and the Satie excursions of Frank Zappa, and some fossils that might've just as well stayed buried (the limp reggae ditty "Crab Eyes"). Guitarist Al Scnier airs his electronic predilections on the twisting, twisted "Bullet," while "Shoot First" allows his partners-in-percussion (Jim Laughlin and Vinnie Amico) to wax warm and wizened, south-of-the-border style. Wormwood's seamless construction -- the individual songs are connected by short, atmospheric instrumental interludes -- make the "shuffle" option a bad idea, but your remote could use a rest anyway, right?

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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Robert L. Doerschuk
Conceived as an attempt to bridge the sometimes contradictory strengths of live and studio recording, Wormwood consists of rhythm tracks laid down by moe. at gigs played during the summer of 2002, with instrumental textures, solos, and vocals superimposed later on. All the work paid off, in the form of performances that have the kick of a concert groove with the tight focus and crisp production that comes from recording in a more controlled environment. The "you had to be there" quality that comes from unedited rambles on some jam band recordings is totally missing here, yet there's also little of the sardine-can constriction that can happen when musicians who like to stretch out are locked into a studio and told to be brilliant in three-minute increments. From the frenetic drum intro on "Not Coming Down" (which also features some of the only live crowd bleed-through on the album) through "Edison Laugh Record," a primitive and bizarre coda, Wormwood pours forth as a steady stream, with each cut flowing either directly or through a free-form segue into the next one; this offers a sense of unified performance that moe. fans will appreciate, while also emphasizing the variety of this selection. In the end, though it doesn't exactly replicate either their concert or studio personalities, Wormwood deserves notice for its ambitious goals and the flair with which they are achieved.
Rolling Stone - Tom Moon
For a band whose rep lies mostly on the road, recording live and sweetening later was a smart strategy.
Entertainment Weekly - Marc Weingarten
Wormwood meanders amiably but never gets too fuzzy. (B+)

Product Details

Release Date:
02/04/2003
Label:
Reincarnate Music
UPC:
0801190109524
catalogNumber:
1095

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