Review of Wolfmother Album by Wolfmother

Released: 24th April.
Album Review

Wolfmother Wolfmother Album

God knows what they're lacing the water with in Alice Springs but it certainly isn't easy peasy lemon squeezy tweeness. Having spawned the vernacular of rock, AC/DC, Australia isn't prepared to lose it's grip on producing the loudest, most abhorrent, hair shaking, mammoth purveyors of hard edged noise on the planet. Which is where Wolfmother come in.

Big of hair, throat wrenching of voice and gigantic in the riff department, it would be fair to say that Wolfmother grew up somewhere off the highway to hell and spent their infant youth raiding big bro's and daddy's record collections. Sabbath Bloody Sabbath? Check. Rush's 21:12? Check. Led Zeppelin IV? Check. Electric Ladyland? Yup. And that's just the beginning.

Y'see, if it's a rhetorical history of the encyclopaedia of rock you're looking for, then Wolfmother have it at their fingertips, with a whole lot more besides, because make no mistake about it, these guys aren't rock'n'roll plagiarists. Far from it in fact. Sure, their sound is steeped in the traditions of seventies rock with the odd glass of dreamy psychedelia thrown in for good measure, but also, and most notably in the vocal mannerisms of head Wolf Andrew Stockdale, they have a distinct identity all of their own that many lesser outfits would kill for.

Already those who've witnessed the live shows are bigging Wolfmother up as THE must-see band at this year's summer festivals, and if you've been swayed by the hype to check out the album then you won't be disappointed. On the other hand, if you have seen any of their onstage performances, you'd find it a little less frenetic and ultimately engaging than in the flesh.

On the whole though, 'Wolfmother' is still a refreshing listen, despite the obvious reference points. Current single 'Dimension' – sample lyric "purple haze is in the sky" – and 'Joker And The Thief' take the Hendrix blueprint and mash it up with a dash of punk and hallucinogenic blues similar to that of Dead Meadow, while 'White Unicorn' and 'Colossal' are classic examples of the voice of Geddy Lee being fed through a time capsule if Jimmy Page was sat at the controls, strat in hand.

Wolfmother really come into their own though on the stratospheric 'Where Eagles Have Been', which is like an opera with the amps turned up to a Tap shaking 11, while 'Apple Tree' mixes every genre from punk, blues and soul into three and a half minutes of angsty rock that basically tells the story of asking some obstreperous bloke's daughter out.

Elsewhere, 'Vagabond' is Devendra Banhart-style folk rock with bags more panache and 'Witchcraft' touches the excesses of Tull-era prog, complete with flutes and all.

All in all, 'Wolfmother' won't win any prizes for originality, but it certainly makes a change from the many Jam and Clash soundalikes clogging up every last recess and if it turns people onto the aural delights of prime time Sabbath, Rush and Zeppelin, then its surely a job well done.

Dom Gourlay

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