New Crown – Wolfmother

WolfmotherNewCrownRelease Year: 2014

Rating: 6.5/10

Ever since Beyonce pulled the genius move of randomly dropping an album with no promotion whatsoever, it’s been repeated by different artists several times this year. Wolfmother decided to join the bandwagon. It’s confusing since singer Andrew Stockdale said he wouldn’t be performing under the name anymore. Either way we have a new album and it’s…okay. While the record manages to remind fans why Wolfmother is awesome, after a certain point everything begins sounding the same. Drawn out songs in the same style really affect the album, making it an almost forgettable release.

Things start off really well with “How Many Times.” The music is full of their mix of classic rock and psychedelia, something they are known for. It really sounds like something from their first album. The energetic track is a nice way to open the album; it wets the appetite of fans who longed for another record. “Enemy is in Your Mind” is another good track with a heavy drawl to the music. They lay the psychedelic rock on think with the heavy guitar and the sporadic keys. It gets pretty catchy when Stockdale sings “Here we go again.” This along with the intense guitar solos make it a highlight track.

For the most part they keep up with their psychedelic roots. Songs like “Heavy Weight,” “New Crown,” and the throwaway “Radio” all contain elements of their established sound. While it can be refreshing to hear that nothing has changed with the guys, after a while it gets tiring. I can understand if they’re afraid to stray away from their sound too much, but some change is good. There are a few moments where they play with their sound briefly, but most of the time it ends up sounding like someone else. “She Got It” is a straight up rip off of The Hives. Everything from the frantic garage rock music to the unhinged vocals to the repetition of the simple chorus screams of The Hives. Don’t get me wrong it’s a pretty good song, but it feels like they gave up and stole someone else’s sound rather than creating something of their own.

This problem continues in “I Ain’t Got No.” This is another song that manages to sound like the Hives with its vintage punk vibe. But the way Stockdale howls “I ain’t got no reservations” makes you think of the Rolling Stone classic “I Can’t Get No (Satisfaction).” He even sings the line in a similar fashion. It’s okay, but the glaring similarities is hard to ignore. One song where they do change things up for the better is “Feelings.” Even though it begins with some weird spoken word intro, the frantic pace and the way he’s singing makes it sound like a garage rock song. It even has a raw, unpolished sound to it. If anything it harkens back to their track “Apple Tree.” It’s full of energy and frenzy that pumps up the listener. If more tracks like this were featured the album would’ve fared better.

There are quite a few songs that are forgettable, such as “My Tangerine Dream.” It’s not terrible, but it’s way too long especially with the constant repetition of the title. The best part is when the pace picks up at the end, waking up the listener, but at that point it’s too late to save the song. But the thing that really kills it is the end where Stockdale channels Johnny Cash and sings the chorus in this weird, drawn out drawl. It’s unnecessary and adds nothing to the song. The closing track “I Don’t Know Why” is confusing. The music is really nice with a bright guitar riff. It’s the type of mellow music that puts you in a good mood. But then the singing starts and Stockdale decides to bring out the falsetto. It’s awful. You begin to wonder if it’s a joke. The vocals completely kill the song making you feel like you wasted your time with the album.

Overall, the album gets 6.5/10.Though it has its good moments, there’s a point when you’re listening and you just want it to end. Initially, I was glad to hear the band released new material, but instead of a collection of carefully crafted songs it sounds like leftover tracks and experiments from their past albums. It seems like they spent more time on the surprise release instead of the music. There are some good songs here, but there are too many that are dull or not attention grabbing that makes it a forgettable release. All we can hope for it this will inspire Wolfmother to stay together long enough to make a better album.

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