Saturday, 16 January 2010

Cosmic Egg
Island Records
Rating: 4/5

Whilst the two bands have very little in common musically besides presumably the shared heritage of all rock bands, Wolfmother appear, with their second album Cosmic Egg to have followed a similar path to the Mancunian space-rockers. Let me elaborate: like Amplifier's self titled debut, Wolfmother's debut (also self-titled) was predominantly riff-based and only featured passages of chords for effect or to break up the riffing. The extent to which this is exactly musically true is a little questionable, but in terms of general vibe, I think most would agree with 'riff heavy'. By contrast, like Insider, Cosmic Egg is more chord based, and as such marks a subtle but noticeable break with their work to date. However, where Insider ran aground on the change, Egg (possibly due to the addition of a rhythm guitarist) is a natural development from Wolfmother, and all the better for it.

The standout tracks are the 'Houses of the Holy' like stomp of 'White Feather', the towering chords of 'Sundial' , the half Zwan, half Muse stadium rock of 'Far Away' and QOTSA growl of '10,000 Feet'. In terms of genre and style it's more of the same fare- 1970s revivalism, and all done very well. As a result of the chords, at times it begins to drift a little into Queens of the Stone Age territory, and admittedly there is something of 'No One Knows' from Songs for the Deaf about the title track, 'Cosmic Egg', but beyond that, it's nothing that detracts from the album. The same flair and explosive guitar soloing has stayed, along with Andrew Stockdale's Robert Plant-esque vocals. At the end of the day, you already know what you're in for before you listen to it, and so in all likelihood whether you're going to like it or not. Consequently, there's only one truly important question to ask: is it as good as their last album? Answer: yes.

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