Wolf People return to Jagjaguwar after a three year gap. Known for their psychedelic, proggy and pretty much classic rock with a little Jethro Tull thrown in for good measure, Ruins is a bit heavier and weightier. Distorted megaphone like vocals and valve driven guitar leads. Noted inc=fluences are Iron Claw, and it certainly isn’t without the Black Sabbath tinge.
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Norman sitcom idea number two thousand and sixteen: stoned people are also professional as fuck musicians. Pretty much what I get from Wolf People, whose music always sounds like a lax rumination of the heavy, but also serious in its construction. ‘Ruins’ is a riff symphony, with tunes like “Rhine Sagas” racking up flutes, melodramatic backing vocals and the usual bedrock of jagged, proggy rock.
As classic in their psychedelic domain as ever, this record has the usual hard-edged mountaineering vibe that defined the Heads and influenced a whole slew of garage rock -- as such, though, they’re also given to the kindly vulnerabilities of the past eras, allowing their wonky solos to fall into Sabbath-comedown acoustic ballads (“Night Watch”) and nearly pastoral tunes. At points it almost sounds like someone’s turned CCR into rad bad dudes.
This should, then, appeal to fans of the Wolf People trajectory, since they’ve been doing much the same on ‘Tidings’ and the proggier ‘Fire Is Dead In The Gate’. A record of real Jagjaguwar beardery.
9/10 Ben Straughair Customer review, 23rd January 2017
Edmund Hendrix meets Jimmy Blackadder in a psyched up alt-rock folk off, and thankfully so! Wolf People’s 4th album RUINS is worthy of the comparison, not for comedic content, but for the quality of its expertly crafted and quintessentially English composition. The LP is a progressive journey founded on all that could be thought of as fundamentally requisite of a classic funky/fuzzy rock album. From opener Ninth Night and throughout, Dan Davies throbbing basslines underpin face-plant percussion, octave bending notes stretch over Sharp and Hollick’s blended, lysergic, elevating scalar riffs, all wrapped in a warmth of high quality production. From the ritualistic candlelight illumination of Rhine Sagas to the sinister contextualisation of Night Witch’s lyric. All the elemental characteristics of a stand out psych album are contained herein.
Fans of the sound will love this album, and for those unfamiliar to the genre, don’t let the fear of elongated self-indulgent widdle-fests deter you from purchase! Far from intrinsic evaporation due to the like, the Wolf People sound is instead saturated with a refined combination of outstanding musicianship and considered tradecraft. Whether that’s the euphoric 70’s choral harmonies of Crumbling Dias with its glam stomp and Tom Watts Jon Bonham strength percussive expressions. Or, the melodic mescaline dripping melancholy of Kingfisher, whose slight refrain and reprise are deeply moving moments in the journey of the long player. For me the Jack Sharps lyrics in Kingfisher conjure up the most beautiful imagery and provokes thought more so than any other lyric I’ve heard in 2016. Only for Wolf People in their playful mirth to move us back out of introspective yearning to Elizabethan ale house buffoonery in Not Me Sir.
Belong and Salts Mill see the sun set on Ruins in a cascade of San Francisco cherry sunburst fuzz explosions. Closer Glass heralds a celebratory climax to the LP as a crescendo of flautist fireworks, subtle saxophony, shimmering brook water tinkling Rhodes organ and cool blues breeze drift in as a mystical and mysterious fog descends again upon the verdant forest. Ruins is an LP of textured emotive lyricism, funky grooves, face melting guitar and soul shaking drums, knitted in a tapestry of discerning multi-instrumentalism and evocative, provocative imagery. Daub yourself in it after heartily clinking a tankard of grog and donning your buckled dancing pampooties!
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- Ruins by Wolf People
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