Wolf People | Live Review

Words: April Donnelly

Pictures: Louise Brady {View the entire gallery here}

Excitement was in the air at The Exchange last Saturday as Wolf People took to the stage to promote their third album ‘Fain’. There was a huge turnout to see this band and from listening to the promotional release of the track ‘All Returns’ I knew why. These guys are quite special and something a little different from anything I have heard in a while.

The atmosphere was really buzzing with a nice balance between people there to shake their thing to some catchy songs and real music lovers waiting to devour and dissect the creative sacrifice being proffered up to them. I was somewhere in between – this is a band you can’t stand still to, while at the same time (and often in the same song) remaining moody and emotional.

It was good to hear ‘All Returns’ live – this is certainly the leading track from their album and one I’ve quickly grown to love. Lead vocals from Jack Sharp are haunting and mournful and on tracks like ‘When the Fire is Dead in the Grate’ and ‘Hesperus’ I felt like my soul was being pulled out of my ears. At some point after about four songs the band went into a jam – time slowed, physical form blurred and we all went back and forwards in a musical time machine for a while. This must be what Prog rock sounds like after all the drugs are over and everyone remembers how to play their instruments again.

However, it would be a real mistake to label these guys as purely a retro band, plugging the psych/folk genre for all its worth. There is plenty of that going on but there is so much more to them. In fact from song to song there were clearly lots of influences from wildly diverse sources – at the same time Wolf People have a striking and unique sound all of their own.

For those of the nerdy persuasion I had some excellent advice from a very knowledgeable ‘DJ Daddy YaYa’ – he pointed out the reverse body Firebird being played by lead guitarist Joe Hollick– these early Gibsons with a long right handed horn stopped being produced in 1965. Coupled with a mid 60’s Marshall stack apparently with a rare ‘square bounce’ made me realize these guys have put a lot of effort in to achieve the exact sound they’re looking for.

The harmonies were solidly beautiful in ‘Athol’ and the songs are so well crafted that you feel almost immediately familiar with them. But at the same time their music is not in the least bit simple and follows no formula. This is certainly a band of subtle contradiction and musical witchery – I was enchanted from start to end. Go and watch these guys as soon as possible – if real music still means something these days and this album is anything to go buy, this lot are going to be big, big, big. They are playing an in-store gig at Rise Records on 4th July – see you there!

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