Eleven years after the release of their eponymous début, Sydney hard rockers Wolfmother drop their 4th studio album, Victorious, on 19th February. Boasting production from Brendan O’Brien who’s impressive CV includes classic albums from the likes of Pearl Jam, Red Hot Chilli Peppers and Rage Against the Machine. Combining his talents with their impressive vintage infused style, on paper it all sounds like it’s going to be great, but alas! The production’s amazing, but the LP is just not as good as I had hoped…
The album opens well with The Love That You Give administering a good dose of over-driven, fast-paced guitar. Throughout the LP, the dirty riffs are full of hammer-on’s, pull offs and muted chords, which by anyone’s book is the making of good-old-fashioned guitar porn. Bolstered with ferociously paced bass guitar and drums and vocals like a modern day with Robert Plant, it’s easy to hear why they have been so successful to date. The title track is particularly anthemic, the soaring chorus with its resonating lyrics “She will be victorious” and the bridge breakdown reminiscent of Led Zeppelin’s late 60’s/early 70’s era, brings a smile to my face every time I hear it. I also like the ferocity of and resonating vocal on Simple Life and the falsetto backing vocals on Best of a Bad Situation, unfortunately my love for it begins to peter out there.
While I want to love it, there’s a fair bit I dislike to boot. For one, the opening pace doesn’t really change and consequently the album turns to a relentless 35 and a bit minute musical snowstorm, the effect of which blurs the edges of the tracks. This works for the likes of Led Zeppelin, Tool and Korn where the musical sound-scape is constantly shifting as this keeps things interesting. Unfortunately Victorious, with the exception of Pretty Peggy, so lacks a definite change in pace that without a deliberate moment’s silence between them, a momentary lapse in concentration could result in missing that one song has finished and another has started. Equally, the LP has no definitive end meaning the sprint finish is a little jarring! They also seem have used the same formula for most of the tracks which exacerbates this effect!
The album is a good stand-alone LP and its commercial potential is good as there is a fair amount of single material here. There’s also plenty for die hard fans for whom, it will no doubt be a must-have. For me however, there’s very little new about it and while it’s not quite a carbon-copy, I could happily continue owning 2005’s eponymous début without adding Victorious to my album collection.
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