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Wolf Colonel
The Castle
K Records

This sequel to Castle Wolfenstein doesn't work so good. So I gave it to DeVoe. "Halt, Kommen sie auch!"
    -Ewan Wadharmi

Well, I accepted the challenge, and decided to run with it. From the first few notes of this record, I could see why "punk rocker" Ewan was so disappointed… and I can’t say I wasn’t a little floored myself. From K records I have come to expect punk rock. But it seems they have branched out as a label, and are filling their roster with melodic groups outside the more traditional punk feel. This record is sub-titled: A Friendship Sadly Lost… And I think that the overall feel of the music is representative of that sentiment. The songs are dark and brooding for the most part, and rarely tend to lift into light-heartedness.

Wolf Colonel evokes Joy Division to my ears… simply due to the lack of clean production values, and the abundance of raw emotion in the sounds of a genre-bending blend of noises. "The Perspective…" is a short little acoustic dissertation about a whole bunch of disconnected stuff… At least it seems disconnected to me, as a listener, but it is beautiful. "Is This What We Asked For?" lays down some serious retro-post-punk grooves, and overwhelms the first minute-song with its weighty 6 minute 30 second timer. The vocals kick in at about the 3-minute mark, with a super time change. This song is pure Weezer on high strength depressants. "Pet You Over" is another under-a-minute song, about something completely undecipherable to my ears, but it is a nice little melody. The story of "The Almond Gorilla" is a wandering tale full of Foo and vinegar. It’s a fast paced trip through a shiny, backwards guitar world. "I Swear I Am" is a downbeat, lovely acoustic tune. It’s the most understandable track thus far, and very enjoyable. "Some girls want to get with our drummer, but they don’t even know his name. A lot of Older women want to jump our bones the second that we leave the stage…" Need I say anything more about "We’ll Always Have Phoenix"? It’s a wonderful tune, filled with tons of lo-fi pop "a-woo-hoo-hoo’s". "Sabotage The Alley" leads us into the 6 minute wonder of "Fantasy Soccer", an alterna-grunge-pop masterwork. "Fantasy Soccer" is full of hopping guitars and dueling vocal lines, and finely wrought Beach Boys breakdowns.

"He Goes Places No One Goes" is another short acoustic track, used to segue into the next heavy song. It is finely crafted, sonically superb, and lyrically abstract. "Here We Go My Friends" takes back the melodic rock blue ribbon with its emo-core guitar riffs and simple, emotional lyrics. "Nectarine Island" is a spacey jam which lights the pathways to "Jerusalem"… a song evoking the spirit of bands like Fountains Of Wayne, with its lusty guitar bits and powerful vocal melodies. Jason slows things down once more on "Russian Sandwiches", a 50 second tidbit laced with powerful guitars and emotions. "Cookie Saucer" is a Velvet Underground-like track, with simple, emotive guitar passages and heavy lyrics. The record wraps up with "Dirty Dreem", an acoustic bow on the alt-rock wrapping paper of this fine record. "Don’t even speak, I’d rather you’re not around. Don’t make an offering, Don’t even speak…Didn’t want you to say the things that you said, but you said them. Didn’t want to believe that it was the end, but I had to."

The true joys of this record are derived from the passing songs, the little one-minute treasures sandwiched between the meatier tracks. With 15 tracks and the fully allotted 74 minutes of CD space, Wolf Colonel delivers loads of indie post-punk joy. The vocalist alternately sings and wails, the music is always solid, and there are enough production tricks to keep the listening interesting. As near as I can tell from the complete lack of liner notes (a pet peeve of mine), Wolf Colonel is basically one fellow, with his buddies coming in to play whenever he needs them to. And it works rather well for Mister Jason Anderson. I can only hope that someday radio will pick up on music like this, and stop broadcasting the same droll musics that it has ingrained into the heart of every American for the past 20 years.

-David DeVoe

Track Listing:

  1. The Perspective That A New Year Brings
  2. Is This What We Asked For?
  3. Pet You Over
  4. The Almond Gorilla
  5. I Swear I Am
  6. We’ll Always Have Phoenix
  7. Sabotage The Alley
  8. Fantasy Soccer
  9. He Goes Places No One Goes
  10. Here We Go Friends
  11. Nectarine Island
  12. Jerusalem
  13. Russian Sandwiches
  14. Cookie Saucer
  15. Dirty Dreem

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