Silica Gel -  Wooden Shoe

Wooden Shoe is a playful concoction that warps folk song elements into kaleidoscopic new forms. The album spins like a cart wheel, traversing a richly varied sonic terrain, moving both forwards and backwards in time. The sounds are ancient yet futuristic…. wurlitzer organ, mandolin and autoharp combine with bent circuits and digital artifacts in a song cycle that progresses like a hauntological play.

On this their second album, Silica Gel deepen their exploration of art song by using elements of clapping games, round songs, hockets, vaudeville and folk balladry to fill out a thoroughly hand crafted songbook. All along, the enchanting voices of Laura and Lauren weave harmonies around the listener like the dreamy revolution of a glowing carousel.

“Excellent lathe LP released last year by this wonderful Birmingham, Alabama outfit. Part of the Sweet Wreath arts collective (an organisation in the same Alabama surrealist tradition as Say-DayBew and Trans-Museq), the top of Silica Gel’s sound is the blend of Laura Thomas and Lauren Jones’ vocals. The backing group include multi-instrumentalist Jasper Lee, strings/electronics guy Joel Nelson and clarinettist Gary Wheat. The music takes many forms – raps that sound like jump rope songs, ghost folk crinkles in time, whiffs of The Manhattan Transfer, oddball Southern-fried pop in the style of Athens, Georgia’s more avant practitioners, and more! It’s all lovely stuff.”
-Byron Coley, The Wire, November 2023

“Describing Silica Gel's Wooden Shoe is like trying two place to magnets together. Words can get close but the sounds seem to move away just when a connection is near.....Silica Gel transitions with pendulum motion, each track a sweeping smooth swing in another direction. For example, "Fog" to "Steamboat Joe", the most angelic and traditional high choir piece to a jangle of strings and playful story telling ballad. The last track and the longest, "Coming Age" is the most melodic and connective to its medieval foundations. Still, Silica Gel is ready to pounce, easily turning a page to blurred futuristic sound waves.” - Lost In A Sea of Sound