- Wolf People
When we last left the brave time travelers of UK’s Wolf People, they’d just returned from crash-landing through the roof of the Carousel Ballroom in 1968 or so as documented on the EP Tidings. Well, guess what, boys and girls? Those wild and crazy lads have gone and done it again, risking life and limb to produce a full-length album of vintage-sounding tunes that definitely show their crusty influences but sound fresh at the same time.
Steeple (that’s right, hippie boy – rhymes with “People”) is just a little heavier than its predecessor; a little bluesier … a little edgier … a little – DON’T TOUCH THAT! IT’S HOT! Everything on Steeple is hot, as a matter of fact. It sounds like the gear took a beating this time around as the Peeps expanded the bandwidth of their time machine to include some early-70s sonic gathering. Witness the opener, “Silbury Sands”, whose first couple of minutes are a balance of massive walls of sound and quietly sipping acid-laced tea in an English garden. In the end, however, crunch and mayhem win; by the 4:00 mark, the air simply reeks of ready-to-puke tubes and badly-blistered transformer ozone. Winded already? Heck, that’s only the first cut.
Me, I’m pretty partial to “Tiny Circle”, whose spot-welded-together flute and jagged guitar riffs carry all the grit of Jethro Tull’s “Aqualung” without the compulsive hand-wiping creepiness. No foul-smelling overcoats on the park bench for Wolf People – uh-uh. They’re too busy simply jamming to have bad intentions.
Or consider “Castle Keep”, which starts out in a nice little cross-legged-with-acoustic-guitars circle but manages to lurch into tension-filled Cream-soaked bluesiness before it gets too far along. (That side of things is never far away, as it turns out. Just when you think it’s going to be a quiet moment by the swan pond – WHAM! – a stack of flaming Marshall cabinets drops out of the sky and the whole works goes up in steam-filled smoke. It’s the nature of the beast.)
Who are these guys, anyway? And makes them do what they do? And what is it they do?
Don’t waste your time with labels, boys and girls. Don’t even think about it. Just throw on your coolest paisley vest, bell bottoms, and oxygen mask – it’s time to crank up Steeple and blast off with Wolf People.