Album Review
Wolves - 1969 EP Album Cover

Wolves - 1969 EP

Reviewed by
Wolves - 1969 EP
Record Label - Never Lost Records
Release Date - March 13, 2012
Wolves is a band that reminds me of a time not too long ago. Remember when Every Time I Die released Gutter Phenomenon? Remember when bands came out of the woodwork trying to copy and rework that sound? Wolves’ 1969 EP isn’t a direct descendant of that movement, but is more like the distant third cousin of Gutter Phenomenon’s little brother that listened to a lot of Norma Jean after Cory Brandan took over. Comparisons aside, 1969 is not as strong as its influences suggest it could be, misdirecting us more often than not on this five track effort.

Opener “Oa” is a bit of a misfire. Not only could it use the vocals it doesn't have, but just doesn’t bring the sort of energy or tension an instrumental opener usually does. The other four tracks here sound much like Josh Scogin fronting an offshoot of Fear Before and early Every Time I Die. “Lennons” sneaks in gritty guitar lines between punching grooves slathered in heavy distortion. A very ETID-flavored breakdown anchors the transition to a sparser, grungy passage of melody and hard-working drums. Vocally, the band seems to drift towards an already tried and true sound, though arguably the lack of variation vocally stems from the structure and poetic nature of the lyrics – which for the most part seem personal but are too fragmented and scattered to connect with outside of this particular track. “Dead Clouds” furthers the formula though, boasting Southern-tinged riffage before ditching the manic riffs for a rather predicted shift into slow-motion jamming. It wouldn’t have hurt them to keep the track moving by restructuring or reworking the opening as the track moved on, but hesitantly moving towards a slower tempo and musically more pedestrian melodies puts this track on thin ice.

To my surprise though, “Grifter” does just the opposite by pushing the dissonant guitar lines and sprinkling them with just enough palm-mutes to not overbear our ears. The result is a track that while not overly memorable shows a bit of the band’s musicianship muscle in channeling their influences without falling into the trap of relying on one riff through the whole thing. Sonically a little more varied with breaks of rim clicks and less straightforward riffing, ending track “Benchmarks” shoves in a good amount of bright chords among the dominant dissonance throughout this album. Again though, the band fails to execute properly on a shift to a slower ending riff, losing practically all steam in the process. You can write good riffs all day, but if you can’t figure out how to transition between them, you’ll be hard pressed to keep anyone’s attention after a few listens.

While certainly able to channel a number of respectable influences without ‘ripping them off’, Wolves’ downfall comes in the form of shaky songwriting that just doesn’t come together when it most needs to. Even with a few bright spots here, this is a band not quite on track with where they need to be.

Recommended If You LikeNorma Jean, The Chariot, Fear Before
Check It!Bandcamp
This review is a user submitted review from Jason Gardner. You can see all of Jason Gardner's submitted reviews here.
Displaying posts 1 - 8 of 8
03:00 PM on 03/22/12
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I thought it was good. Also, Adam from Love American's guest vocals on Grifter are sweet.
03:33 PM on 03/22/12
to here knows when
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wolves with members of orchid > this band
02:31 PM on 03/24/12
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08:01 PM on 03/26/12
signal to noise
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i get down with this band's music.
05:34 AM on 04/07/12
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08:48 PM on 04/14/12
Brap Brap
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Is this the Seattle band? We had a local hardcore band called Wolves but I hadn't heard anything from them in at least a year.
03:25 PM on 03/12/13
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