Album Reviews

Wolf People – Fain

on May 03, 2013, 12:00am
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Though many musicians prefer the confines of the recording studio, others experiment in the intimacy of a home. Looking at Blood Sugar Sex Majik and Led Zeppelin IV, it’s obvious that the professional method can produce sound results. But the bedroom has its appeal as well, as the past couple of decades of indie music would attest. For Wolf People’s new release, Fain, the English fuzz rockers moved into one member’s isolated home in Yorkshire Dales to record naturally, giving each layer of sound room to breathe. Although they stretch themselves too thin, Fain finds itself some groove-worthy blues riffs.

The band continues to develop their confrontational edge with songs like “All Returns” and “Thief”. Guitar melodies texturize the eccentric palette with scuzzy effects. Even the record’s more subtle jams evoke unhinged finesse, peaking with winding sixteenth notes that harmonize across acoustic guitars on “When the Fire is Dead in the Grate”.

“Answer” surfaces as one of the grooviest moments on the eight-track trek, but the riff is breached by an inactive void as the track progresses. This trend continues throughout the second half of Fain. The psychedelic prisms and continuous energy found in the beginning fade away into these lofty refrains.

Most of these serve as an attempt to generate impactful vocal performances. Claiming this is a more lyrically focused record, lead vocalist Jack Sharp levies a calmer, emptier setting behind him. But after their sophomore effort, Steeple, featured both crooning and instrumental complexity, Fain, then, feels like a step backwards. The album loses its confidence through multiple exhibitions of mundane excess, fracturing the dexterity to hold up over time, and proving that not everyone can focus in deep isolation.

Essential Tracks: “All Returns”, “When the Fire is Dead in the Grate”

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