Wu-Lu’s growth from talented beatmaker to full-grown South London punk legend is pretty breathtaking. The Brixton-based artist has finally released his debut album on Warp titled LOGGERHEAD, but after being blessed with incredible EP’s along the way, with the 2018’s N.A.I.S, and 2019’s S.U.F.O.S EP’s that came out, and the occasional killer single that just captures the intensity of a layered artist. LOGGERHEAD is his most complete work to date, by far. 12 tracks and 42 minutes of some of the grooviest, most captivating rock songs of the year. The menacing and intense spirit Wu-Lu has always had is amplified tenfold, creating an apocalptic, rhythmic masterpiece, on par with some of the best the genre has seen and heard in years. Let’s get in to it.
The album kicks off with the mesmeric “Take Stage”, with its riveting and menacing guitar leads, atmospheric, string synths and groovy basslines, giving Wu-Lu the platform to paint a dystopian present and future, with political corruption and ineptitude driving the country’s misery, fuelled by the social disparities in communities, especially in large cities like London. The vocals are both jarring and mesmeric, adding to the intensity of the growing soundscape. “Night Pill” featuring Asha Lorenz is another captivating journey into the psychedelic soundscape his able to produce. The groovy and jumpy guitar leads build and explode as the track progresses, and is incredibly hypnotic in a way. A true highlight on the album. “Facts” featuring Amon is this drum and bass inspired jam, with fast-paced off-kilter drumming, and a dark synth line that gives it this eerie tone. Piano keys float in, but it’s the intensity of the drumming that makes it such a hypnotic, spacey track. “Scrambled Tricks” is full of punk-fuelled energy that is aimed at those in charge of our lives. The menacing guitar leads are incredible and absolutely relentless, with the basslines complementing the growling beat.
“South” featuring the one and only Lex Amor is another highlight on the album. The grueling guitar leads and drumming, the intense rhythms, with Wu-Lu speaking directly about his upbringing in South London, painting a dirty picture of London, familiar to what a lot of families are experiencing today. The powerful, noisy and shrieking scream representing the chorus is full of such animosity, letting out all the pains and frustrations. Lex Amor comes in with a smooth verse, which oddly works on a dynamic instrumental, complementing the intensity with laid-back, nonchalant energy. “Calo Paste” featuring Léa Sen has this interesting beat, with a weird vocal sample that is interpolated within the atmospheric sound on the beat, and features some of Wu-Lu’s most emotive singing on the entire album. The message is hopeful, as Wu-Lu and Léa Sen sing about not wanting your mental health to go to waste as you’re trying so hard to live your life. “Slightly” is a smoother, more melodic cut on the album, but with a hypnotic guitar lick, as the track breaks into drumming and dynamic grooves that draw you in completely.
“Blame” is a track that starts off light and melodic, and drives into seventh gear with heavy, pummeling drums and intense grooves that carry a fast-paced menacing dynamic to the album. “Ten” is a bass-heavy, tribal interlude, with punk-like energy that I imagine (and look forward to seeing) sounding amazing live. “Road Trip” is a track that explodes into life with intense drumming and guitar leads, as Wu-Lu’s dominant vocals make this an explosive listen. “Times” is another clear standout for me, with screeching, lively guitar leads and beat, that give way for a driving, free-flowing track, with an incredible driving rhythm that punches through at every corner. “Broken Homes” closes the album out in a more reflective tone, capturing his melancholic side. The guitar leads and beat are both exceptional, and Wu-Lu’s present vocals and lyrics glue this track and album beautifully together. The track exploses with menacing guitar leads, and subtle strings that draw the intensity of the track together, and Wu-Lu’s emphatic vocals carrying the track to its very end.
LOGGERHEAD is one of the best debut I’ve heard in a good few years, I think. consistent, raw aesthetic is fuelled by the grueling and menacing guitar leads, heavy and punchy beats, hypnotic basslines and interesting and captivating vocals that draw you into his fascinating world of introspection, fuelled by action, power, and protest. It’s a terrific body of work that marks Wu-Lu as one of the most trailblazing musical talents of today. Go listen to and support Wu-Lu’s debut album LOGGERHEAD!