Wobbler are one of those bands that I think all fans of prog rock should be aware of and hopefully checked out. If you haven’t, the good thing about Wobbler is that they have had a sound that has remained consistent and music that has always had the highest of standards. They do wear their influences proudly. But not to the point of ripping anyone off.
Wobbler mixes vintage Yes with some ELP and Pink Floyd thrown in. Yes is definitely the most prominent touchstone with the vocals and bass sounding like the late Chris Squire is actually in the band. On their lastest opus “Dwellers of the Deep,” all of this remains. The band have also shown additional growth since revamping themselves on their last album “From Silence to Somewhere.” These two albums definitely sound connected and that works for me just fine.
The album opens with “By the Banks” which is the standard almost 14 minute Wobbler ditty. Right from the start, Wobbler comes roaring out of the gate. Bass, drums, organ and then the vocals: it’s classic Wobbler. So if you are new to the band, this is how they sound. Yes they are from a time gone by but so am I. And if you love mellotron, there is ample supply on much of their music including “By the Banks.”
The band were always good with melodies and really they seem to have gotten better with each album. There are a lot of things happening in their music but they never lose the listener and THAT is what makes great prog versus the bands that try to be prog. “By the Banks” could be on any early Yes album and fit…but it sounds modern at the same time.
The next track is the song released as the first single/video “Five Rooms.” About a minute in, the band really takes off. Much like the first song, Wobbler show they can rock. Then they downshift to show their dynamics. The organ solo around 5 1/2 minutes in really jams. “Naiad Dreams” is the “short” song on “Dwellers of the Deep.” It’s a 4 1/2 minute acoustic that reminds me of Gentle Giant, Yes and for some reason Greenslade. Since the latter had no main guitarist, I could be off. It has a medieval vibe to it and is more subtle than Wobbler tend to be. But they do that sometimes.
Much like “From Silence to Somewhere,” “Dwellers of the Deep” has 4 songs. The big epic on this album is the 19 minute closer “Merry Macabre.” Wobbler fit with other current old school prog bands like The Flower Kings or The Tangent and that’s where a track like “Merry Macabre” falls in. Granted I prefer the vocals of Wobbler to the other bands (though I do love those bands too). The song does go into various sections including a short jam right before the 7 minute mark that will definitely have you thinking Squire lives on (the bass is ridiculous). Overall, this is one of Wobbler’s best epics.
“Dwellers of the Deep” is yet another great album by one of prog rock’s true champions. Wobbler don’t PLAY prog rock, they ARE prog rock. If you’ve never listened to them, “Dwellers of the Deep” is a great starting point. If you’ve been a fan of them, you will not be disappointed.
- By the Banks
- Five Rooms
- Naiad Dreams
- Merry Macabre
Label: Karisma Records
Release Date: 23 October 2020