Until very recently, I had become disgruntled with the state of blues-rock. I had convinced myself – as well as many of my other musically like-minded confidants – that the only quality modern day blues was found in Jack White’s tenacious efforts in the White Stripes and the Raconteurs, and then of course in the Black Keys. I was frustrated. And then, right when I was sure that all hope had been lost to resuscitate a genre on the verge of extinction, Wolfpeople came along, and thankfully, they have a new album titled Steeples due out in October 2010 on Jagjaguwar.
This album is going to be a great one for people who just love raw guitar rock, and should be a cohesive piece of art, as Sharp doesn’t come across as the type of fellow who would settle for anything less. Check out the song "Tiny People" to hear what I'm talking about. Or better yet, check out the video. Still, he claims that the band is in a transformative period. As if to showcase this point, the new songs for the album were recorded in a chicken barn on the grounds of a 17th century Welsh mansion in the rural part of the country. It does seem like an arduous way of going about your business, but what Wolfpeople have produced is something that belongs in a different era. It seems like this genre needed to look back on their roots in order to revive itself for the future. And it looks like Wolfpeople is setting the precedent for the impending resurgence of this sorely missed music.
Aside from the fact that the name of the group makes me think of that infamous scene in The Hangover when Alan talks about his ever-expanding “Wolf Pack”, I can’t help but think that this group is on the verge of something special. They skillfully intertwine blues guitar licks with the psychedelic rock persona in the vein of Captain Beefheart so effortlessly that it speaks volumes about their influences as well as their sheer musical proficiency. Guitarist Joe Hollick loves to show off his fiery bluesy chops, ripping incredible solos on virtually every track that conjure up thoughts of even the innovator himself, Jimi Hendrix. Their sound on their first proper album ranges from the flute led Tiny Circles to the cavernous One By One From Dorney Reach.