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Published: 2010/03/15
by Brian Robbins

Wolf People
Tidings

Jagjaguwar

Hey – who knew? While everyone else was messing around with space stations and developing a remote control that would reach to Mars (just in case the TV channels there sucked, I guess), the folks over in England have built their own real, working TIME MACHINE.

Yep – that’s right; an honest-to-goodness time machine with those big dials and gauges and levers and stuff. I mean, I haven’t seen the thing, but I know it works: I have heard the sounds of Wolf People.

You heard me: I’m pretty sure Wolf People’s new Tidings documents the time machine’s trial run. To my ears, it sounds like these brave lads climbed into the bugger, pulled a few levers, and went zinging back in time, crash-landing right through the roof of the Carousel Ballroom in, like, February of ‘68 or so. Hey, don’t laugh – I’m as serious as a heart attack, buddy. Go ahead – drop the needle on a copy of Tidings and you tell me: is this serious time travel, or what?

Right off the bat, you’re plummeted into “Season Pt. 1”, a little blast of wah guitar from the bottom of a coal mine punctuated with an unnerving Syd Barrett-like giggle from outer space (these sorts of things happen when you diddle with relativity and such). No sooner have you risen to your feet and brushed the dust off your butt than things take three steps sideways into “Black Water” – Hall-of-the-Mountain-King vocals, rumbling bass, churning drums, and backwards/forwards/over/under/sideways/down guitars. Just about the time you’ve come to terms with all this and can dance without scaring yourself, a female voice from another room (in another world) sings to you – but when you turn around, there’s nothing there except some cat in a Nehru shirt playing a raga on a banjo. “Ho-ho!” you say, “I’m okay – I can handle this.” Good for you, because as soon as you blink, everything vaporizes and you’re in the middle of what sounds like a vintage Traffic jam (Chris Wood flute and all) with a young Billy Kreutzman sitting in on drums.

You got all that?

Nobody said time travel was easy, chum. Fortunately, we just get to enjoy the results of Wolf People’s explorations – they did all the work (including dangling a microphone outside the window of the time machine to pick up all the “Interludes” that connect the main tracks on Tidings – weird snippets of sound textures and field recordings of mind/space/time spin).

Name your Kool-Aid: here we have “Storm Cloud” (The Zombies play an Acid Test – no shit); over there we have “October Fires” or “Empty Heart” (if the Dead had hailed from London, they would’ve sounded like this in the early days – Pig-blown harp and all); and in-between we have bits and pieces of captured transmissions from along the way.

Rumor has it that Tidings (available on vinyl only) is a warm-up for a full-length Wolf People release later in the year. Sounds like code for another zippitty-doo-dah in the time machine to me, folks. Let us pray for their safe return … we could use some more Wolf People.

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