Friday, November 30, 2012

The Wolfhounds on Oddbox Records

Track 4 on the A-Side of the infamous C86 cassette released by NME almost 30 years ago now (yikes) featured The Wolfhounds alongside The Soup Dragons, The Mighty Lemon Drops (one of my first shows at a college near where I lived probably 6 years after this came out) and The Wedding Present among others. The definitive document came to represent the 'indie' scene which hadn't been nailed down like this previously. Though this article by Alistair Fitchett sheds an entirely different light on this diverse scene and the mistake of overcategorization...

The Wolfhounds released material through 1990 before splitting up and getting back together for the 20th anniversary reunion of their first single Cut the Cake in 2005. Things must have gone alright and they entertained coming up with new material and here we are at the present where they've released a new single on Oddbox Records 27 years after getting together.

Appropriately enough the first track "Cheer Up" kicks off with that melodic jangle electric picking up right where they left off. It's not that surprising, these guys were doing exactly what they wanted back then and obviously continue to do so with a cheer up / fucking cheer up lyric in a deceptively sunny pop style. The guitar is the essential piece of this sound, a cool laid back strum creating that solid foundation to lay everything else on...the straight ahead beats, and lead layers. David Callahan also didn't skip a beat heading down this shiny positive sounding road with a hint of ridicule. Don't wallow in self pity, get on with it, which they make seem possible in the tracks unpretentiousness.
B-Side's "Security" finds the jangle working against this tom/kick downbeat and David's vocally going to a Smiths kind of place for me here, that headstrong lead vocal that can hit on all sorts of off the path melodies hiding in this seemingly basic rhythm. This stripped down guitar/tom structure builds up verse by verse to an epic chorus with the guitars shifting over to an almost sliding thick shimmer. But if you come up with a decidedly pop stomp beat like this, it's practically writing itself and is infinitely replayable. "The Devil Looks After Her Own" you see what they did there? Flipping expectations again before you even know what happened. Break out the acoustic which is the only backing necessary behind these vocals, at the end of the day, this guy has a great vocal style without going off into obviously trained areas. It's got that simplicity without being self conscious. They even bend these metallic chords and it could be there's been a couple layers of electric here the whole time. This whole electrified thing could just be a passing fad though, we'll have to see.

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