by Jim Di Gioia

September 19, 2019

We live our lives on a razor’s edge, searching for a sense of balance between external forces and internal struggles. London-based WHOOP-Szo understands this moment-to-moment existence and expertly translates the push and pull musically. They have long been considered a live force to be reckoned with, but if “Amaruq” is any indication, they’ve captured the power and ferocity of their live performance on their forthcoming album, Warrior Down.

Named after the Inuktitut word for wolf, “Amaruq” preys on unsuspecting ears. Like its titular creature, “Amaruq” stalks its prey with laser focus; the band plays the song as if each note, each chord progression could determine whether they live or die. And yet, the inherent gentleness of their nature, the deep spiritual connection that WHOOP-Szo exudes, still finds room. That intuitive balance, the delicate dance WHOOP-Szo do that captures the rawness of live performance and precision of studio playing, makes “Amaruq” feel both heart-wrenching and exuberant all at the same time.

Jim Di Gioia

Jim founded the music blog Quick Before It Melts in 2006 and was its principal writer until 2016, when its decade-long run ended 10 years to the day it started. DOMINIONATED is its spiritual successor. Jim currently serves as a Polaris Music Prize jurist and Prism Prize jurist.
Jim Di Gioia

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