Interview edit: Jack Sharp, 30 April 2013
First broadcast on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio, 5 May 2013
Jagjaguwar [Release date: 29.04.13]
Not to be confused with Wolfmother, this four-piece recorded their second album proper in an isolated house in the Yorkshire Dales. All I can say is that the bleakness must have stimulated their creative juices, along possibly with a crate of Theakston’s Old Peculiar.
Wolf People are a strange hybrid of Richard Sinclair-period Caravan grafted on to Wishbone Ash in their folkier moments. Take a listen to the opening track ‘Empty Vessels’ for the folksy inflections, but always steadied by robust guitaring.
The early single ‘All Returns’ starts quietly but soon crashes in to another semi-prog folk epic with a punchy bassline and quirky guitar which degenerates into some sort of late sixties psych-fest. It’s bold as a single, but it works.
There’s an earthy blues-iness that’s never far away either, as evidenced on ‘When The Fire Is Dead In the Grate’ which even evokes the spectre of Man and their spiritual brothers Quicksilver Messenger Service in the extended jammed playout. This is simply marvellous stuff.
‘Hesperus’ is a particularly good example of their art, don’t be fooled by the folksy start, it’s not long before it gets riffy and rather good. I would hope that the band extend some of these riff sections when playing live, as I reckon with suitable lubrication the results could be invigorating (for both the band and the audience).
‘Answer’ is similarly mid-paced whilst ‘Thief’ opens with a salvo of guitar distortion countering the attractive folk ballad that follows. It’s actually not far removed from Sandy Denny-fronted Fairport Convention and the inspired addition of female vocals confirms that.
‘NRR’ rounds off a fine album, and could be just the jam track that takes the band and the audience into the rest of the night. A lively and raw blues rock workout that Tony “T.S.” McPhee would have been proud of.
All I can say is this band, or more specifically their Dads, must have a great record collection because they’ve evidently got the retro inspiration from somewhere. Either that or they plundered Sid’s prog shop in Hebden Bridge when they were recording.
Wolf People may appeal to bearded men drinking Black Sheep Ale but that shouldn’t stifle their upward trajectory. Seek this out. ****1/2
Review by David Randall
David Randall presents ‘Assume The Position’ on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio every Sunday at 22:00 GMT.
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