Wot Oz is the fourth full-length album from Matt Lajoie's spiritually minded psych-rock project Herbcraft, but it's the first album created by its solidified lineup as a trio including bassist Joe Lindsey and drummer Aaron Neveu. Lindsey and Neveu also produced and mixed the album, and while it's still as gauzy and hazy as previous Herbcraft recordings, it seems more pumped up and energetic overall. The most striking difference between this album and previous works is the presence of uptempo, Krautrock-influenced rhythms, especially on the funky "Push Thru the Veil," which was previously released as a 7" single with a dub version on the flip side. Aside from this magnificent track, three lengthy jams stretch out past the ten-minute mark, filled with extended bouts of acid guitar shredding and steady, thundering drums. Lajoie's wailing vocals are covered in all manner of effects, rendering them completely incomprehensible. He's come a long way from the fragile, wispy singing style of his previous freak-folk alias Cursillistas; anyone who heard that project's dozen-plus recordings would be hard-pressed to identify the swooping, echo-drenched vocals on "Fit Ür-Head" as his. Other than the album's vocals and grooves, Wot Oz is remarkable for its adventurous production effects. The spacy, tape-damaged textures give the album a surrealist edge, with pitches occasionally shifting, making the recording sound like it's melting or folding in on itself. The confounding 12-minute "No More Doors" in particular might be some of the most experimental music Lajoie has created yet. Closing track "Bread Don't Rise" seems to capture the trio in the middle of a never-ending jam session, starting with the sound of a tape winding up mid-rhythm, progressing through wild riffing and echo-drenched vocals, and cutting off abruptly 11 minutes later as the tape runs out. Wot Oz builds on the promise of Lajoie's entire cumulative discography and produces what is undoubtedly the most focused, accomplished Herbcraft album yet.
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AllMusic Review by Paul Simpson