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The notion that rock must perpetually break new ground and reinvent itself is the odious legacy of 10 too many years of rock-crit navel gazing, and one that young Australian power trio Wolfmother stands gleefully on its head with their effusive debut. Hardly surprising to find a new generation’s reaction to a decade of shoe-gazing alternative rock angst to be a return to the guilty pleasures of unabashed, blues-based stadium rock–even if they seem unsure whether they’re channeling the early Zep scream ’n’ sludge frenzy of the single ”Woman” or adopting The White Stripes’ stripped-down ethos on ”Apple Tree” and elsewhere. They bravely mix suspect ’70s lyrical thematics (”White Unicorn,” ”Where Eagles Have Been,” ”Tales”) with usual suspects like Sabbath (”Dimension”), stir in the neo-prog of ”Colossal,” ”Witchcraft,” and ”Tales,” (the latter complete with Tull-savvy flute break), then toast Soundgarden and Queens of the Stone Age on ”Mind’s Eye” and elsewhere. Their frightfully funk-challenged ”Love Train” gets promptly derailed, making one yearn for a hit of Eagles of Death Metal for relief, but its wreckage only proves how far Wolfmother is willing to push the envelope in forging their often intoxicating evocation of the past as future. –Jerry McCulley

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  • I warily stepped into this CD — it being recommended by my brother, who had also recommended The Vines, Jet, and Green Day. None of the last 3 bands does anything for me. I grew up with Zeppelin, Deep Purple, Black Sabbath, and AC/DC, and have yet to find anything comparable in the last 25 years (Rush’s Vapor Trails is excellent however). This time, I struck gold. This CD is fantastic. I hesitate giving it 5 stars, because it is pretty basic. But I hold 5 stars to gems such as Machine Head or LZ 1-4. Someone commented that the lyrics are a joke – but listen to the lyrics of Whole Lotta Love. Lyrics are important, but the songs matter most. All of the songs on this CD are good – and most are great. If they can develop,like Zeppelin did (but Purple never did), they could turn out to be a phenom. However, they could turn out to be a one-CD wonder. My usual question for rating a CD is – will I listen to this 5 years from now?? I’m pretty sure I will. Rock and roll needs a good comeback amongst all the garbage that is out there. Please let rap die and rock flourish.

    Posted on March 16, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • Do you like classic rock but are sick to death of the same old songs played over and over on classic rock radio? If the answer is yes, then this record is for you. Wolfmother play straight up rock n’ roll in the classic rock vein of Zeppelin and Sabbath, complete with cheesy Tolkian fantasy lyrics and a vocalist that sounds a bit like Rush’s Geddy Lee. It’s not really adventurous enough for my tastes, but it is very, very well done. This band is very good.

    Posted on March 16, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • New Aussie band Wolfmother are on the rise right now, with their retro hard-rock blend that is equal parts Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin. Maybe a bit of Deep Purple thrown in for good measure. With influences like that, this band has a lot to live up to.

    But in their self-titled debut album, Wolfmother proves that they are more than the sum of their influences. Their hard rock is murky, raw, and energetic, the sort of thing you can dance or mosh to, and their slower songs are still sharp and wild around the edges. This is definitely one for the fans of good rock’n'roll.

    It opens with an earsplitting yell, and if you’re not expecting it, it’s sure to make you sit up and listen. It’s followed by a crunchy, murky mass of hard rock with an otherworldly edge. After getting lost in the desert, “I had to write something down/And I found myself alone, and then I let go of everything/Into another DI-MEN-SION!” frontman Andrew Stockdale hollers.

    Things steady out in the songs that follow, with Wolfmother exploring different kinds of hard rock. Yes, every kind I can think of. They dip into everything from steady bass grinds to hard psychedelica to catchy fuzz. And as they explore different sounds and styles, they manage to keep the same rough, wild edge in every song.

    Wolfmother even dabble in quieter music in “Mind’s Eye,” a panoramic rock number with stretches of quiet, almost pretty music, and the closer almost sounds like a folk song at times. This band is in great form in these songs, which show the complexity of their music, but it sounds like the musicians are barely restraining themselves.

    There’s something almost larger-than-life about Wolfmother’s sound, with their wild lyrics and wilder musical skills. That quality is the sign of a really good rock band. They have energy, they have skill, and while their skill leans on that whole Zeppelin/Sabbath sound, they sound fresh.

    They also sound loud. These guys sound like they’re testing the waters at times, which is the one drawback of “Wolfmother.” But even in their weaker moments, they show that they have musical expertise in murky bass, sizzling guitar, and some wicked percussion.

    Stockdale’s voice is one that takes getting used to. At first he sounds thin and a bit nasal, and his vocalizing is kind of melodramatic. But as the album goes on, his voice will start to grow on you. He can really belt out those songs (“WITCH… CRAAAFT!”), but he can also sing in a more restrained manner. “If you listen to the sound within your mind/you may find the answer glowing in the tide…”

    In their rough, raw debut albun, Wolfmother demonstrates that it deserves all the attention it’s getting in the rock press. It’s “colossal!”

    Posted on March 15, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • This is some marvelous heaviosity in the vein of classic rock giants Led Zep, Sabbath, and Deep Purple. It’s refreshing to hear NEW music that rekindles the spirit of those guys. There are thick, thundering guitar riffs and massive bass lines (listen to “Pyramid,” for instance), plus the high, Plant-esque wail of singer Andrew Stockdale. I like just about everything on this album, especially the bluesy “Witchcraft” and the swell stroke of “Colossal,” a song where everything comes together just right. Only one tune put me off a bit – “Apple Tree,” with its White Stripe-ish shenanigans. Overall, though, this is one of the best CDs I’ve heard all year – one Mother of an album! (And at a great intro price too.)

    Posted on March 15, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • Have you been starving for some old-fashioned rock like the sort that hogged FM radio in the early to mid-seventies? Do your eyes brim with tears when you pull out a dusty plastic 12-inch black slab of “Machine Head” or “Demons and Wizards?” Do you still sit around and pine for a Black Sabbath reunion? Lo, my brethren. Salvation has arrived and they call themselves Wolfmother.

    This debut CD sounds like it dropped from a time machine. “Wolfmother” is chock full of rocking seventies organ slamming minor chords atop big threatening sounding guitars as a singer wails above it like he has a cassette of Led Zeppelin wedged in his larynx. Does “Dimension” echo Black Sabbath? Heck, yeah. How about a little Deep Purple buried in “Joker and The Thief?” Oh, Baby. Zep lightning striking through “Woman?” I gotta whole lotta love for you, brother. And just to prove they aren’t completely retro, “Apple Tree” sounds like it came from the White Stripes’ bag of leftovers.

    Easily the best hard rock debut album to come out so far this century, Wolfmother proves you don’t have to be original to be great. I am hoping that they can keep evolving as a band; the last thing we need is the second coming of Kingdom Come. But for now, “Wolfmother” has a secure slot in my CD machine.

    Posted on March 15, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now