Wolves & Machines

Ailments

Written by: TL on 29/12/2010 16:07:31

We're talking about it constantly these days - coming up on the end of the year - and one of the things that nags me about it, is how New Years Eve can be compared to leaving somewhere and not coming back for a while - especially so for a reviewer who has to write an End Of The Year list. What am I talking about? Well, about the thought that there might be some records left in the year, that belong on an End Of The Year list, and I might not have heard them before its too late! Hence, while I am in a last ditch effort to finish as many mandatory promos as I can before the year finally gives its final salute, I am also scouring for good bands and albums that deserve to get on my list before it is too late.

Enter Wolves & Machines, a quartet from Michigan, US, whose debut album "Ailments" was recently recommended to me by our own good DR. I have since taken quite a liking to it, and I'm beginning to wonder if it could grow into a dark horse role in so far as making my list is concerned. But until I actually write the damn thing, I guess that doesn't really interest you people at all, so let me explain what this sounds like.

It took me a while to make the connection, but these days, I think what primarily makes "Ailments" so appealing is that its instrumental tone reminds me a lot of original emocore, delightfully mixing soaring melodies with abrasive walls of distortion. There are however, quite a few more ingredients in this delicious compound. For instance, the mainstay of the vocal work is delivered in a raw Jimmy Stadt-ish (Polar Bear Club) voice which contributes both in the lead and in backing roles. This delivery will often alternate with a mumble/whisper style resemblant of those used by bands like Brand New, Crime In Stereo or The Xcerts, and topping things off there are sparkling guitar hooks and moments of odd moods - part anthemic, part tranquil - which reminds me of Lydia.

It may sound a bit strange, but in reality it works like a charm. The songs perfectly escort the listener between dreamy, floating soundscapes, and blood-rush, punk-rock outbursts which soak in the kind of raw emotion that emo and hardcore-purists are always on the prowl for. All are generally well within the territory between 'good' and 'great', and personally I recommend making special notice of the opening duo "Missteps" and "Nomads", as well as the central tripod of "Wages", "Discords" and "Ailments", the last of which is particularly memorable, via great signature riffage and chorus.

In fact, "Ailments" is a very good record, especially considering that it's a debut, and there isn't really all that much to complain about. I get the feeling that more experience and slightly increased production options could have helped the band make even more of especially their more subtle moments, and also there surely is room for these guys to get more versatile in their songwriting. But that being said, the sound of this is still so good that it can hardly be ignored, and without further ado, I think it's time I just tell you people to give this disc a whirl, just before I mark it with a well-deserved:

8

Download: Nomads, Wages, Discords, Ailments
For The Fans Of: Moneen, Crime In Stereo, Brand New, The Xcerts
Listen: myspace.com/wolvesandmachines

Release Date 05.10.2010
Capeside Records

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