Wolf & Cub – Science and Sorcery

June 30, 2009 § Leave a comment

Published: Music Australia Guide #65, May 2009.

Wolf & Cub
Science and Sorcery
****
(Dot Dash/Remote Control)

Love it or loathe it, Adelaide’s rock renegades Wolf & Cub had a thing going with blazing 2006 debut Vessels. Strictly analogue and fervently revivalist, the then trio’s sound occupied a riff-raw echelon deep in the bong smoke of classic 70s psych and thundering 90s stoner-rock. And it worked for them. They were snaffled by indie imprint par excellence 4AD and found themselves touring with some of rock’s international coterie. Odd then, you would think, that the retro rockers would enlist Bumblebeez main man and digital cut ‘n’ paste maestro Chris Colonna to pilot their follow-up. But what might read like a cheap, tardy foray into the hype-riddled indie-electro folds proves something else entirely. From the rattling percussion, agile guitar hooks and reverb-heavy electronics of opener Seven Sevens, Science and Sorcery is anything but passé. A lesser producer might have tried to blanket Wolf & Cub’s retro sound bleeps and pops, but Colonna’s influence is residual rather than overpowering here. He lets the tearing guitar riffs and analogue tonality be, opting instead to rework and reconfigure the band’s sound at its seams. The results are fascinating; a whole new palette of reverbs, atmospheric layers and polyrhythms tempers the group’s signature sound. Check the skewed, psych-dub of Restless Sons, the prog-dance-boogie of Hearts and swooning, tropical pop inflections of Burden for proof. Like its title suggests, Science and Sorcery is a record of unlikely but compatible counterpoints. For the most part, it’s an exhilarating push and pull.

Dan Rule

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