Two kings of the indie dancefloor unite for a warm, timeless take on 20th century pop and rock
Album Review: Wolf Gang - 'Suego Faults'
A sparkling debut album with echoes of Byrne and Bowie
Anyway, quit yer bitchin’ – if it weren’t for the odd plank of Byrne and some hefty joists of Bowie, half the houses on Indie Avenue would never get built, and not many people can hammer beautiful little follies like these out of them. Opener ‘Lions In Cages’ sets the tone, a flamboyantly chiselled edifice built from slabs of MGMT-ish electro-pop resting on pillars of Killers-style indie rock’n’roll. “The city joins us with hands of grace/Hands free, there are no constraints”, promises McElligott, as the coltish, bone-rattling rocket of the chorus takes off.
Effortlessness is the name of the game, and from there on solid little pop gems are tossed off like they’re nothing, from the sweeping, romantic vista of ‘Something Unusual’, McElligott pleading “Why won’t you lay down your little heart for me?/We’d be something out of this world, never seen before”, to the strutting, Talking Heads romp of ‘Stay And Defend’ with its vibrant belter of a chorus. ‘The King And All Of His Men’ is a high-cheekboned glammy stomp that knows ridicule is nothing to be scared of, duelling with Adam Ant on high table, while the lush, loose-hipped ‘Back To Back’ changes pace with a moody, heartbroken depth and a seductive three-note bass line.
‘Midnight Dancers’ perhaps has too much fun dressing up in Bowie’s ‘Hunky Dory’ vibes, but its gentle, organ-tickled prettiness is lovable nonetheless, McElligott imagining sepia-tinted love tableaux: “Here we go again on the cobbled streets of Paris/We’ll go dancing round the square/And everyone will stop and stare at the lovers of the night”. As well as a harum-scarum momentum, the whole album, sonically midwived by Mercury Rev and Flaming Lips producer Dave Fridmann, has a seductive sense of dashing romance, leaping from cloud to cloud towards some distant glittering prize with lapels flying. The spacious title track takes a piano for a weightless walk across a sunset of reverb as McElligott sagely notes, “It’s hard to draw the line when you can’t see the safety net”.
‘Planets’ closes things in grand, psychic space-odyssey fashion through clouds of reverb and chorused vocal, with the sad acknowledgement: “Suego Faults is just a dream that I’m waking up from now”. Ah, our little Fantasia is all over, and we must relucatantly return to the grim reality of Monday mornings and new Kooks albums, but it was certainly some trip. And it will be interesting to see where a talent like Wolf Gang’s travels to next. Sparkling indie-pop zinging with class, energy and potential? Sounds like Shangri-La to us.
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