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Published: 2006/08/19
by Randy Ray

self titled – Wolfmother

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The fun begins with perhaps the worst scream in rock history. From that bit of drunken garage mayhem on Wolfmother's “Dimension,” we enter the tattered land of the White Stripes bisected by the heavy bottom of Black Sabbath. “White Unicorn” follows with a sweet lick borrowed from Jimmy Page ala Houses of the Holy-era before the band sinks back into Jack White fronting the mighty Sabs. “Where Eagles Have Been” floats amidst the cosmic sea with a spatial romp through acoustic light and shade riffery before resting into a sludgy headbanging jam. “Joker and the Thief” borrows lyrics from Dylan (!) as the riff rotates in a tight carousel with the quartet vomiting equal parts MC5 this-goes-to-11ness and alternate universe Who thuggery.

And that’s just side one.

Wolfmother are a talented mixture of everything glorious about jam rock. They are completely based on the power of the almighty riff, as resurrected by the likes of Lenny Kravitz and White and his legions of followers. The simple fact that an old semi-retired metalhead from way back in the daze before hair bands corrupted the Tolkien and Frazetta mythology could listen to this platter around ten times in a week says much about Wolfmother's proliferation of fuzz tone riff magic — be it heavily borrowed or salaciously stolen.

Side two has the boys attempting to move away from their influences by entering different wormholes springing from their bass and chord drenched melodies. “Colossal” and “Mind’s Eye” skirt the oceanic waves of Rush before drenching themselves in pure Deep Purple exotica. “Pyramid” is the song Lou Reed could have written after Metal Machine Music ended its insane trippy dippy feedback zongfest — retarded, cluelessly ballsy, crunchy and absolute rock n’ roll perfection. “Tales” is a beautiful stroll into a psychedelic pasture featuring mellotrons and Liam Gallagher conjuring the haunting ghost of John Lennona sublime pastiche of many complementary colors before the Wolfies pounce into the Yardbirds’ backyard. The vocals by frontman/guitarist Andrew Stockdale are a mixture of Ozzy Osbourne, Jack White, Robert Plant and Ian Gillian but the lyrics are laughably sophomoric and painfully juvenile, at best. They’ll develop Has one ever read the early lyrics of the Wizard of Ozz, Percy Plant or Iggy Pop? Not exactly “Gates of Eden” territory (or “Under My Thumb” or even “I Wanna Hold Your Hand,” for that matter).

So the wheel turns and garage band metal has ossified into a clichf pseudo third generation hippie lyrics and ersatz sci fi punk rock and who really gives a fuck? When it’s midnight and you’ve been up for two days feeding babies, changing diapers and watching dinosaur movies with a three year old, one aging hippie/headbanger is entitled to a little headphone blitzkrieg utopia. And that’s a good choice, dig.

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