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Wolfmother - Cosmic Egg

Wolfmother, Cosmic Egg

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 3 out of 5

IT’S been four years since Wolfmother released their debut album, but while the music remains principally the same, the personnel have long since changed!

With two of the three original members having left in 2008, citing “irreconcilable personal and ­musical differences”, frontman and guitarist Andrew Stockdale sat down to start from scratch at his home studio in Brisbane with new bandmates Ian Peres (bassist/keyboards), Dave Atkins (drums) and Aidan Nemeth (on rhythm guitar).

Curiously, however, the new members don’t appear to have brought any fresh ideas. Wolfmother always wore their heavy ’70s rock influences – Led Zeppelin, Hendrix, et al – on their sleeves; and Cosmic Egg trades on the familiar. It’s a strength and a failing.

On the positive, Guitar Hero fans and retro gazers will dig the whole back dated vibe. Stockdale appears to be doing his best Robert Plant/Jim Morrison impressions throughout, while the guitars have real weight and meat about them. It’s very much a record for rock purists only.

And when they get it right, they really do hit a rousing vibe. Former single New Moon Rising, for example, is a pure rock opus that wears its classic values on its sleeve. The guitar work, in particular, is rousing stuff – a wolf-like wail that hits several highs, and which is the main reason for tuning in.

White Feather, meanwhile, has some joyful riffs and the type of chorus that seems borrowed from Free’s Alright Now – lending it commercial, sing-along appeal, while Sundial drops in a chiming piano loop to augment the guitars and maintains the heaviness.

Fortunately, just as things threaten to settle into a similar groove, In The Morning refreshingly adopts a more melodic structure and a hazy disposition that kickstarts the album and emerges as a highlight, and Far Away drops one of the most playful guitar loops on the LP, and lightens the overall tone to genuinely engaging effect.

Unfortunately, such moments leave you pining for more and when the album gets back to the heavier, more familiar riff-laden refrains of Pilgrim and In The Castle it’s much less appealing.

Violence In The Sun does, at least, mix things up for a final blast of quality, beginning slowly before unleashing the guitars and rounding things off in suitably rousing style.

But while there’s plenty to admire throughout Cosmic Egg, there’s a nagging feeling that Wolfmother haven’t been as diverse or as ambitious as they should have been. It prevents a good album from really becoming great.

Download picks: New Moon Rising, White Feather, In The Morning, Far Away, Violence In The Sun

Track listing:

  1. California Queen
  2. New Moon Rising
  3. White Feather
  4. Sundial
  5. In the Morning
  6. 10,000 Feet
  7. Cosmic Egg
  8. Far Away
  9. Pilgrim
  10. In the Castle
  11. Phoenix
  12. Violence in the Sun