Thursday, January 15, 2015
The Wolfhounds - Middle Aged Freaks
Middle Aged Freaks is the title of the late 2014 album from The Wolfhounds, their fifth overall and first in 24 years. And the title seems perfect to me. The band that was among the noisier of the acts lumped into the C86 category a few decades ago have managed to craft a return album that simultaneously reminds you why they were so well regarded in the past and demonstrates their right to be considered a vibrant player in the current indie rock scene. The music is dynamic, by turns gritty and hopeful, made by pros who know what music they want to make and are determined to make it regardless of what is charting. After all, if it the charts didn't matter to them in 1990, why would it matter now?
Its versatility is one of the album's many strong points. Tracks such as "Cheer Up" and "Divide and Fall" have a guitar pop sheen to them, while the title track recalls the grunge side of punk. "Anthem" drives a chugging garage rhythm into your brain while Callahan muses whether a dreamer like him has a place in modern reality. Semi-bitter reflections are on tap for the psych-influenced "Slide". Echos of Joy Division post-punk dominate "Tunnel". "6,000 Acres" and "Rats on a Raft" bring back the garage rock swagger with a sneer and a snarl. The album dials down the volume, but not the intensity, for the philosophical musing of the wonderful folk-rock "The Devil Looks After Her Own". I detect a nod to the band's C86 roots in "Security", while the progressive "The Ten Commandments of Public Life" is a hard-hitting novel of a pop song.
Middle Aged Freaks doesn't seek to be the next new and different thing. It is a return to noisy form for The Wolfhounds, and one of the notable rock albums of the year.
"The Ten Commandments of Public Life" --
The Wolfhounds are David Callahan (vocals, guitar, samples), Andy Golding (guitar, backing vocals), Pete Wilkins (drums, percussion), and Richard Golding (bass). Middle Aged Freaks is out now via Odd Box Records. You can stream and buy the digital version at the Bandcamp link below.
Bandcamp for album
Odd Box Records