Wolfmother

New Crown

Written by: PP on 17/04/2014 00:42:23

Better than "Cosmic Egg", but doesn't touch their self-titled debut album. That's the short description of "New Crown", the third album by the Australian retro rockers Wolfmother who've in their short history been through more drama than most bands do in a lifetime. A revolving door of members, a dramatic split and an almost instant reunion with new members, followed by lead vocalist Stockdale claiming to only release solo material in the future, only to renege on that promise later are just few of the things that have been going on in the Wolfmother camp lately. What's more, "New Crown" is a self-released record, stunning major labels seeking to capitalize on one of the most successful retro rock bands of the modern era.

With that comes certain liberties when it comes to songwriting, but also concerns about the production, which is truly hit-and-miss throughout the record. Some songs are loud and abrasive yet crystal clear, others feature bass and guitar tuned so low they feel muddy in the mix and surprisingly poor for a band of Wolfmother's stature. Fortunately Andrew Stockdale's enormous personality and songwriting talent renders such concerns meaningless as he takes us through the full repertoire of being a rock'n'roll band, Led Zeppelin style. Opener "How Many Times" is rowdy as hell with great riffs and one of the fastest tempos you'll hear on a Wolfmother album. It's retrospective and looks to the 70s, for sure, but not without modern flavor. In contrast, "Heavy Weight" is one of those slower psychedelic tracks which really plays heavily on the vintage vibes, and it is here where Stockdale's wails really come into their own. It's no "White Unicorn" or "Pyramid", of course, but it's pretty good nonetheless. The opposite can be said about "My Tangerine Dream" which might be the best track the band have written since their debut album. Vocally the psychedelia is incredible, and the bass-heavy instrumentation gives perfect support for Stockdale's wails in this song. Later on, "I Ain't Got No" gives us a Wolfmother style throwback to Rolling Stones type classic rock'n'roll, of course drenched in vintage organs/keyboards in the process. The punky "Feelings" sounds oddly lo-fi for the band, but what's weirder is that in the balladic "Tall Ships" the final solo sounds like something Metallica could've written during their heyday.

Speaking of solos, them there are plenty of, this being a Wolfmother album after all. Stockdale's talent with his instrument is not to be discounted, and it is my belief he's one of the greatest guitar solo composers of our time, so having him showcase his technical proficiency in all its groovy glory is very welcome throughout the record. That said, it's not that the whole record is a long solo which was sometimes the vibe with "Cosmic Egg". Faster, shorter, and more concise is the theme this time around, which also give the record a real feeling of momentum as it races by you with an overload of reverb in the process.

They say conflict breeds success, and that certainly seems to be the case with Wolfmother. Sounding thoroughly revitalized after the decent, but lazily written "Cosmic Egg", "New Crown" returns the tight instrumentation and unmatched composition back to the heart of the Wolfmother sound. Layers upon layers of depth is to be found on this record, but it's exceptionally easy to delve into its simplistic groove-laden guitars and catchy psychedelia.

8

Download: How Many Times, Enemy Is In Your Mind, My Tangerine Dream, Tall Ships
For the fans of: Led Zeppelin, Rival Sons, The Parlor Mob
Listen: Facebook

Release date 23.03.2014
Self-Released

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