Wooden Veil are a Berlin-based art collective whose musical work trades in a mystical, almost tribal, variant on avant-rock improvisation. The inside cover of the CD should let you in on exactly what you are getting yourself into. Ancient rituals, shamanism and shrines dictate the music as much as the aesthetic. As this description might suggest, the album veers fairly often into a rather familiar clatteringly primitive, rhythmic and tribal sound, full of multiple percussive instruments and countless dramatic flourishes. Luckily Wooden Veil are also blessed with an superbly delicate and melodic female vocalist who, when featured at the forefront, provides some of the album's best moments.
There is a clear post-rock lineage that Wooden Veil are drawing from here. Their sound is that of the large semi-improvised ensemble, with both quiet moments of abstract beauty and fully on
eastern-tinged rock-out moments, that remind me quite a lot of Grails. Although this is certainly not the most original move, and in fact could be seen as somewhat outdated mysticism of the kind whose moment in the underground appears to be sharply on the decline, the band is thankfully more interesting than that. The band's rhythmic sensibilities are, first off, superb, giving even their most unhinged tracks – like the industrial gutteral moan of “Shiverings” - enough propulsive force to hold themselves together, and enough nuance to keep things interesting. What I enjoyed most about the album though was the interplay between Wooden Veil's occasional pastoral rootsiness, and their clear indebtedness to the most gritty and urban of post-punk forbearers, This Heat. “Wooden People” creates something mystical and shaministic out of a rhythm track that sounds like spoons banging together, sounding alienating and suffocatingly mechanical and elevating that to some kind of collectivity. An auspicious debut.
8/10 -- Tim Gentles (28 July, 2010)