Tracklisting: How Many Times / Enemy Is In Your Mind / Heavy Weight / New Crown / Tall Ships / Feelings / I Ain’t Got No / She Got It / My Tangerine Dream / Radio / I Don’t Know Why
A thick ooze enveloped me, slowing my escape as I gasped for breath. The sludge had caught me unawares and promised a creeping, gloopy death whilst the creature, glimpsed briefly in the fading moonlight, that had hounded me for what seemed like a lifetime manoeuvred, readying itself for one final blow….
I woke from the nightmare with only vague recollections of the horrors I’d encountered and were it not for the conveniently placed pen and pad by my bed those fading memories may never have seen the glorious light of this new day.
That’s right folks, I’ve started this review for Wolfmother’s third “surprise” album New Crown with an allegory. For they are the creature…as persistent an antagonist as genital warts and that there sludge that threatened to end this writer’s life is the lumpen old 70s hard rock pastiche Andrew Stockdale and the 15.53 (approx) rotating members of said band have dished out incessantly for more than a decade. Abandon all hope ye who enter here…
It’s been five years since Wolfmother, in their second incarnation, released Cosmic Egg the follow-up to their inexplicably successful debut. Since then the fortunes of Australia’s favourite exponent of karaoke Led Zeppelin has been on a downward spiral which many hoped would see them disappear into the thick ether created by their plodding productions. Unfortunately, despite frontman Stockdale renouncing the name during 2013 (he released his solo album only to realise he wasn’t Jack White, and no one had the faintest idea who he was without his internationally recognised band moniker) Wolfmother Mk 3 have entered the fray. Same Shit, Different Day.
New Crown would be a piss poor collection if it were recorded by a bunch of 16 year olds in their parents’ garage. The fact that it’s the product of a moderately successful band with 10 years experience under their belt is just embarrassing. New Crown is a record littered with half thought out riffs (check out opener “How Many Times” which sounds like Stockdale hadn’t quite got his axe strapped on before they hit record), inane lyrics (but who honestly comes to a Wolfmother album for gallant word play?), lazy guitar solos and uninspiring stabs at Sabbath-esque heft.
At the halfway point the mire begins to recede, and footholds begin to emerge. The euphoric “Tall Ships” threatens to be half decent (until it runs out of ideas 1 minute in), whilst the garage triumvirate of the Buzzcocksy “Feelings,” sub-Mudhoney “I Ain’t Got No” and fuzzy “She Got It” hint at a power-pop future that may, in time, bear a sweeter fruit.
But as we scramble for freedom this gunk drags us back with the New Crown’s nadir. “My Tangerine Dream” is the sound of Cream, if the members of Cream were an Oasis cover band. A horrendous mess of a song full of psychedelic cliche, sloppy riffs and an acoustic coda that’s only success is being even more irritating than the song that preceded it.
“Radio” (an uneventful trawl through the familiar territory of the album’s first fifteen minutes – in case your mind had wandered since then) and “I Don’t Know Why” (a half-baked attempt to ape Ty Segall) mercifully close proceedings as you scramble to list the multitude of influences the album has failed to live up to.
To listen to Wolfmother’s New Crown once is a folly, twice misguided, and by the third time you might question whether you actually even like music. I’ve played it five times whilst writing these words…a sluggish, more suffocating demise than anything my nightmarish subconscious could ever conjure up.
Rating 1 out of 5
THIS REVIEW WAS ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED ON BEARDED GENTLEMEN MUSIC.
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