I probably shouldn't be reviewing records if a band this great have been around for this long (admittedly this is their first standalone LP in 27 years) and I have managed to remain blissfully unaware of their existence.
This album was previously released on limited edition vinyl so props to Optic Nerve for making this available on CD for the first time and with worldwide distribution. I love the cover for a start off, as quintessentially British a scene as you are ever likely to see and nope it ain't a village green. Pissheads and cops on a Saturday night (legal) High St. Near you? Get me?
In the same way that artists such as Massive Attack (choose your own band and album) managed to capture or provide a snapshot of the UK at that time, The Wolfhounds have managed a similar feat, albeit perhaps more overtly for more overt times. The attack is stronger but the resonance may be weaker due in no small part to the seismic changes in how we 'consume', well, just about anything.
Either way, this says it like it is and does so in an interesting and captivating way. "What was it like Daddy?" "Well son, it was a bit like this. Now bugger off and leave me alone". Yes, it's dystopian, but perversely, also celebratory. The riffs and hooks somehow capture the moment and your mind. It sprawls and yet, unlike Britain, remains united. A capella iPhone folk (Apparition), indie banger (The Comedians), apocalyptic guitar and violin repetition (Across The River of Death) and that's just for starters.
'Now I'm A Killer' showcases the distinctive (twin) guitar sound of the band. Kind of violent and bluesy although this can also be heavily melodic (Everyday Monsters), so it's not stuck in a rut. Whatever serves the song best. 'Thanks' and 'Stupid Poor' are naggingly catchy. 'Lucky Heather' has a stripped back lo-fi electro feel to it with telephone vocals high in the mix. It shouldn't work but somehow does in spite of itself. 'Oppositeland' has a similar quality but is just voice and guitar and 'Fire In The Home' ratchets up the weird with Egyptian sounding guitar over a semi-fat hip hop beat.
If they haven't had my attention in the past then they have it now and hopefully The Wolfhounds will soon have yours.