Wovoka Gentle – Start Clanging Cymbals

Wovoka Gentle's latest album is a kaleidoscopic adventure in sound, without a dull moment in sight

Album Review by Amy Hill | 11 Jun 2019
  • Wovoka Gentle – Start Clanging Cymbals
Album title: Start Clanging Cymbals
Artist: Wovoka Gentle
Label: Nude Records
Release date: 7 Jun

Just looking at the tracklist of Wovoka Gentle’s Start Clanging Cymbals, you can tell you’re in for a wild ride (see: 1000 Opera Singers Working in Starbucks or Sin Is Crouching At Your Door(sad puppy!!!1!)). There isn’t a dull moment on this album, whizzing through what feels like an endless stream of influences, instruments and innovations. The kaleidoscopic nature of the record makes it hard to believe that the band – comprised of twin sisters Ellie and Imogen Mason, plus Imogen’s husband Will Stokes – began their careers in the west London folk scene. Although those influences peek through the curtains in tracks Tell ‘Em, Makoto! and [It’s All OK], all in all it feels like these musicians couldn’t get much further away from where they started out.

The album begins with what sounds like a 70s radio jingle, before enveloping itself in a fascinating cocktail of instruments, from trumpets to drum machines, from alien-like synthesisers to classical violins. One of the most alluring components of their sound is their near-perfect vocal harmonies, where the intimacy of its members becomes evident. There’s a hymn-like resonance in these moments, which is echoed lyrically as the band deftly tackle religious themes of prayer, sin and redemption.

There are moments on this album where we genuinely struggle to figure out what’s going on. But even in those moments, where the album feels like some kind of extra-terrestrial encounter, it still sounds cool. '1000 opera singers working in Starbucks couldn’t sing themselves to freedom' Stokes implores on the track that was picked for the recent FIFA 19 videogame soundtrack, shooting the band into a new-found fandom in a (perhaps unexpected) twist of fate. It’s on tracks like this that the band sounds their best – euphoric, uplifting and downright impressive.

Listen: 1000 Opera Singers Working In Starbucks, Tell 'Em, Makoto!