Weird, a Wolf Eyes album on Jack White’s Third Man Records… I Am A Problem: Mind In Pieces is the first ‘proper’ Wolf Eyes album to showcase their late-period Trip Metal (sorry John Olson, I mean TR1p Met@L!!1!) style, and while it is pretty damn gnarly, it sticks pretty close to actual song forms. Intriguing...
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Though they’ve occasionally jumped on an unexpected indie pop label for the fun of it, Wolf Eyes have retained a largely DIY approach to both music and its distribution. On paper, who gives a shit, but these guys have made about ten thousand more albums than Buckethead, so one has to give them credit -- I assume they’ve never left their garage of cracked cassette cases and torn envelopes. For their latest record, the wandering ‘I Am A Problem: Mind In Pieces’, they’ve given themselves another break, doing what Neil Young and several stand-up comedians have done: teaming up with Jack White’s Third Man label. Breathe in, hold on, exhale; it’s just the way the world’s going. Jack White is everywhere, but Wolf Eyes still got it, mans.
Having veered further afield from their typical noise stylisation (although what can be called “typical” over five hundred odd records of fractured experiments?) Wolf Eyes are now making music that could be termed groovy -- the band describe it as “trip metal”, a phrase that suggests the line between hypnosis and discomfort that Swans straddle. Songs like “Twister Nightfall” still use feedback and backwards navigated guitar oscillations, but a sturdy rhythm section keeps the band bobbing, giving direction and assurance to Nate Young’s snarl. In their more disastrous, fragmented moments, such as “T.O.D.D.”, they’re still a recognisable rock band: the disparate squeaks and discordances are driven by a thrummed kick drum, again turning Young from lost boy to noise guardian.
Wolf Eyes have a penchant for noise minimalism, so if you’re after that, go straight to “Asbestos Youth”, a track that rides by on a suppressed, unwanted bassline that guides everything a little bit of the way, then leaves it in the lurch: disappearing industrial beats, swirling vocals and confounded metallic riffs all sound lost on the map. This is mood music that seeks out direction, even if it never finds it.
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- I Am A Problem: Mind In Pieces by Wolf Eyes
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