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?
I recently saw Moe. with the Allman Brothers in Pittsburgh. They played mostly songs from this album, and they were great. I recommend getting thier live albums before you get a studio album. This is an excellent CD and one of the best modern day albums in my book. Any fan of guitar rock would love this album.