Last year, Prog Rock champions, Katatonia and The Pineapple Thief gave us two astounding collections with “Dead End Kings” and “All the Wars”. This year their respective frontmen have banged their creative heads together in a quest for the musical equivalent of the Higgs-Boson Particle and “Wisdom of Crowds” is the inspriational result.
Sometimes musical collaborations can go a step too far from the origins of those involved. On “Wisdom of Crowds”, Jonas Renkse and Bruce Soord have taken leaps into each other’s musical style and breathed life into a very different creature.
Opening track “Pleasure” leaves the listener in no doubt that this is going to be an excursion into the unknown and sets the tone for what ensues. On the title track, electro synth clashes with searing guitar and sorrow evoking melody. Soord’s songwriting is as meticulous as expected and his complex arrangements wrap around Renkse’s solemn baritone as he sings –Look at how we suffer. The guitar driven “Radio Star” lurches towards the capacious “Frozen North”. The first release from WOC, its beautiful acoustic and string-led introduction soothes and comforts before lambasting guitar swathes the allure with a level of paranoid torment. On the introspective experimentation of ”The Light” and the petulant drive of “Pretend”, Renkse is more exposed. At times masked in the gloom of Katatonia, the true quality of his vocal talent is laid bare. The melancholic balladry of the skeletal “Stacked Naked” is possibly the safest moment on Wisdom and is hauntingly effective. Closing track, “Flows through You” sprawls with industrial insistence. Each of the nine songs on this album explores a different avenue of influence and expression, taking the listener deeper into the world of its creators.
“Wisdom of Crowds” is an album that demands your full attention with a considerable number of structural meanderings and eclectic explorations. Take the risk, step out of your comfort zone and enjoy the dulcet ingenuity that these supremely gifted musicians have begat.