Wolfmother – [Album]

Saturday, 31 October 2009

Without a doubt, one of the most hotly anticipated records of 2009 has been Wolfmother's follow-up to 2005's smash self-titled debut – if only because the album represents an against-the-odds release. At the beginning of this year, drummer Myles Heskett and bassist Chris Ross departed from the band, leaving singer/guitarist/songwriter Andrew Stockdale to sink or swim all on his own.

The verdict was still out on whether Stockdale could pull it off even in the twilight of the recording process but, really, why wouldn't he be able to? He's the songwriter in the band – the progenitor success of the first album – and as the album fires up, that fact show through; Cosmic Egg picks up where Wolfmother left off.

Even without the original rhythm section present, Wolfmother's growth curve continues unphased on Cosmic Egg. In true 'sophomore album' fashion, the riffs are beefier with all the swagger of Wolfmother, but with the added push of a more authoritative presence; Wolfmother has consistently drawn comparisons to a new rock-refined, rougher tumbled Led Zeppelin and those faculties are still present in songs including “California Queen,” “New Moon Rising,” “White Feather,” “Sundial” and the title track but, rather than simply play catbird for a second time, new sounds including a heavier grind (particularly on “Sundial” and “10,000 Feet”) and even an affinity for retro-pop (see “Far Away”) manifest and get played out in force by this new, four-man Wolfmother. The band makes no excuses for the obviously retro-rock inspirations that surface (they never have) and wear them proudly rather than only tepidly exposing them; there are sound here that everyone will recognize, but Wolfmother makes them their own through sheer will and the strength of their performance.

So, to answer that burning question, “ Can Wolfmother – or rather, can Andrew Stockdale – pull it off?” He already has; after the stylistic stretching done on the first half of the record, songs like “In The Castle,” “Pilgrim” and “Phoenix” return to the blues-based bombast of their debut but, as was the case for Led Zeppelin II, on Cosmic Egg the blues has been better synthesized into the rock in such a way that, this time out, Wolfmother sounds less derivative and more like they're coming into their own. It has to be a gratifying relief for singer Andrew Stockdale – once again, he's not only beaten the odds, on Cosmic Egg he's coming further into his own.



Wolfmother – “New Moon Rising” –
Cosmic Egg
Wolfmother – “Back Round” – Cosmic Egg (Deluxe Edition)


Cosmic Egg
is out now. Buy it here on Amazon .

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