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Wolfmother
Cosmic Egg
DGC/Interscope/Modular Records
www.wolfmother.com


Wolfmother calls its latest CD Cosmic Egg. And in case you missed this news, lead singer/guitarist Andrew Stockdale completely changed his rhythm section between the band's self-titled debut and this one. But even if you didn't know that factoid, there's no mistaking the Wolfmother sound because this band sounds almost exactly the same as the last one.

It sounds almost exactly the same, only with a lot less prog-rock stuff going on. And that's a good deletion. We certainly don't need another Yes. With that said, this 12-song disc is heavy on heavy rock. It's a little like all of Led Zeppelin's excesses, all rolled into one. There are lots of wailing vocals, wailing guitars, and plenty of weeping and wailing for those that appreciate a little simplicity now and again.

A Cosmic Egg dish might sound good if you're, say, following a jam band around the country, or reliving your Woodstock memories, over and over again. But some of us like our eggs simply scrambled or fried. Stockdale gets particularly cosmic with the medieval "In The Castle", for example, which may make you feel like you're living through a psychedelic breakfast with the Knights of the Round Table. Stockdale and hired hands are at their best when the music is much more straight forward. A good example of this straight rock, no chaser, is "New Moon Rising", which has a mighty fine Stones-y swagger going for it. And speaking of Woodstock, "Sundial" is gentle, hippy rock, and just slightly Beatles-y.

But Stockdale's overwrought bluster drowns out any attempt to be more balanced and eclectic. "California Queen" attempts to raise The Doors' Jim Morrison from the grave, musically speaking, (assuming, of course, that rock legend really died). This is just one too many ghost resurrection for comfort.

Cosmic Egg is no rotten egg. It's just not the tasty dish we know Stockdale and Wolfmother are capable of. Maybe Stockdale should find a rhythm section with the guts to move the band's leader out of his musical comfort zone next time. Yes, there can also be too few cooks in the kitchen.

-Dan MacIntosh

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