Waldo’s Gift

Gift-wrapped Bristolian rocktronica

Who they?

Waldo’s Gift are a three-piece from Bristol consisting of Alun Elliott-Williams (guitar), Harry Stoneham (bass) and James Vine (drums). Formed in 2017, they released their debut album ‘Improvisations’ in 2019, which showcased their free-form approach to spontaneous composition and the synchronous dexterity of their playing, taking in everything from Philip Glass-esque minimalist layers to thunderous, intensely funky drumming and pulsating rhythmic arcs. They (post-) rock.

Why Waldo’s Gift?

Named after the John Cale-narrated track on The Velvet Underground’s ‘White Light/White Heat’ album, Waldo’s Gift could be the sonic embodiment of that song’s protagonist as he meets his grisly end. Their music, hewn from improvisations and encompassing elements of rock, jazz and electronica, is as sharp as the sheet metal cutter that takes out Waldo Jeffers, and the impact is no less devastating.

Tell us more…

The band’s new EP, ‘Normflex’, arrives with the white light and white heat of ‘The Berlin Tuck’, led by Elliott-Williams’ sinewy guitar riffs and intense blocks of impenetrable distortion, while Stoneham and Vine offer a tight, rapid-fire rhythm section. Elements of metal and electronica are fused together seamlessly across the EP, giving the effect of tumultuous energy being wrestled into a dramatic sonic cohesiveness. The title track dives headlong into grimy metal riffery, creating persuasive, evocative prickly shapes despite the brutality of their execution, while ‘Climbing Trees’ is the most sedate moment, a seesawing guitar passage floating above African polyrhythmic percussion. ‘Postcards’ returns the band to slow-motion post-rock sensibilities, taking a questing, unresolved bassline surrounded by ephemeral electronic textures and hitching it to contemplative, almost flute-like processed guitar melodies, concluding this innovative gift for the ears.

‘Normflex’ by Waldo’s Gift is out on Black Acre

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