|Wolf People — Fain (2013)|
Wolf People — Fain
¦ It's an honest and natural album that allows its stories, its melodies, its themes and structures to breathe.
Styles: Neo-Psychedelia/Alternative/Indie Rock
Location: London/Bedford/North Yorkshire
Album release: April 29, 2013
Record Label: Jagjaguwar
1. Empty Vessels (4:58)
2. All Returns (4:49)
3. When The Fire Is Dead In The Grate (6:34)
4. Athol (5:39)
5. Hesperus (6:59)
6. Answer (3:06)
7. Thief (7:01)
8. NRR (5:18)
¦ Ian Carter Additional Production, Engineer, Mixing
¦ Olivia Chaney Piano, Vocals (Background)
¦ Daniel Davies Group Member
¦ Rachel Davies Vocals (Background)
¦ Joe Hollick Cover Art, Group Member
¦ Nicola Kearey Vocals (Background)
¦ Stevan Krakovic Engineer
¦ Jace Lasek Vocals (Background)
¦ Jack Sharp Composer, Group Member, Producer
¦ Tom Watt Group Member, Producer
¦ Recorded in a beautiful and isolated house in the Yorkshire Dales, Fain is the sound of a band at the peak of their creative powers. It's an honest and natural album that allows its stories, its melodies, its themes and structures to breathe. The album draws on more traditional English and Scottish folk melodies than anything they've done before, but not straying from the drop-out fuzz-rock route they've made their own, the influences are vast – British rock bands like Groundhogs, Dark, Mighty Baby and Peter Green's Fleetwood Mac are evident in the swirling and distorted guitars throughout Fain, along with the 60s revival folk of Fairport Convention, Nic Jones, and Trees. Additionally they have looked towards Scandinavian's rich psychedelic tradition both new and old – you can hear the likes of Mecki Mark Men, Mikael Ramel and contemporaries Dungen. You can even hear the band's teenage forays into Hip-Hop in the drums of 'Thief' and 'Athol'.
¦ It rained constantly throughout the recording process and the house was so packed with gear and recording equipment the band were forced to sleep in tents and caravans parked outside. Whilst performing, they could look out into the vast countryside and catch sight of buzzards, hares, curlews and hundreds upon hundreds of crows and gulls. The fire was on permanently, overnight and throughout the day. A serene experience that informs every track on the album. It was mixed and finished in the equally rainy London, with additional performances from Olivia Chaney on piano and backing vocals, plus Nic Kearey and Rachel Davies of Stick in the Wheel and Various (XL). Jace Lasek (Besnard Lakes) recorded backing vocals in Vancouver remotely for All Returns.
¦ As evidenced by the first single "All Returns," Fain is more lyrically focused than anything they've previously recorded.. The song tells the story of a dream Jack Sharp (guitars/vocals) had during which an acquaintance had looked into his eyes and seen into his soul whilst calmly describing his faults and inner demons, a truly cathartic experience. However, says Sharp, his life is largely "too banal" for material and he largely draws upon snapshots of history to furnish him with the ideas for lyrics. Stand out track "Thief" is taken from various stories of highwaymen that had been made famous by broadsheet ballads and plays – the likes of Charles Peace, William Nevison, Jonathan Wild and Jack Sheppard. He delivers this story in first person, almost as if he is playing the part of a complete degenerate with little or no conscience or morals. As Sharp says, "It's like a form of tourism. You can visit but not live in the mind of an appalling human being. "
April 22, 2013. 11:17 am • Section: Awesome Sound
Editor rating: ****1/2 (out of five)
¦ Prog rock freaks, rejoice: If you were looking for an album to rekindle your love with early ’70s “holy grail records” style riffage, look no further. Despite the overdone lupine band name (that was old a few years ago already), the sophomore release of British rockers Wolf People is a stunner of a record. Fain borrows from old occult rock vibes (Black Widow), folk-inflected prog (Jethro Tull), forgotten British heavy psych (Dark) and fuzz-heavy stoner rock, weaving tales fog-laden tales of open roads, mystery and thievery. Recorded in an old house in the English countryside, Fain sounds as forlorn and mystic as its setting (cue single All Returns, easily one of the best rock songs of the 2013, or B-side opener Hesperus, with its ghostly background wails), and it makes for perfect turntable material. Because ultimately, Fain is probably best enjoyed on vinyl, with a pint of dark ale and an old book of lore, the volume turned up high to chase the shadows away.
By Janne Oinonen, 24 April 2013 (Editor rating: 8,5/10)
¦ Apparently, ‘All Returns‘ – the majestic first single from, and the ideal introduction to, Wolf People‘s second album – was inspired by a dream where frontman and songwriter Jack Sharp had the contents of his soul measured and dissected by an acquaintance.
¦ Judging by Fain, said soul-charting session must have uncovered a pile of well-worn vinyl by the likes of Fairport Convention, Trees and Bert Jansch in the arts appreciation regions of Sharp’s mind. On their second album, Wolf People amplify the healthy appreciation of English and Scottish folk song traditions (as interpreted by the late ’60s British folk-rock movement) that has bubbled under their prog-fuelled fuzz-rock templates on past releases.
¦ Although the album’s influences are easily tracked, it’s far from a case of meritless mimicry. Much as the masters of vintage British folk-rock took musty inspirations and moulded them in the shape of the times they operated in, the London four-piece mix and match ingredients to create sounds that, whilst respectful of what has gone before, are unmistakably rooted in the here and now. The results are frequently mesmerising.
¦ Recorded during ceaseless rains in an isolated house on the Yorkshire Dales, Fain‘s bleak beauty resembles the surroundings it was created in. Remoteness from modern-day concerns infuses most of these eight songs. Much of the album seems to broadcast from some unspecified imaginary past, a location marked with hardship and ceaseless toiling but also unquenchable thirst for rebellion, a place where unknown beings hide in wait for the sun for 10,000 years (‘Empty Vessels’), revenge for the sufferings of those who work all day with blistering hands pours forth like floodwater (‘Athol’), and notorious highwaymen are caught, paraded in front of the blood-baying public and dragged to the gallows (the remarkable ‘Thief’).
¦ An ability to create a totally convincing alternative universe via beautifully crafted lyrics; British folk-informed compositions; the freely breathing, tight-but-loose execution that accepts few extra ingredients to the sound of a superbly tuned-in band playing together in a room: in many respects, Fain resembles Midlake‘s downbeat masterpiece The Courage of Others. Unlike their flute-wielding kindred spirits, however, Wolf People are plugged in, fully charged and kneeled down at the altar of two guitars-bass-and-drums rock ‘n’ roll orthodoxy. The autumnal tones of the songs are leavened with startling bursts of musical muscle-flexing: the heady guitar interplay frequently brings to mind the likes of Arbouretum and Dead Meadow, whilst the mighty dynamics of ‘Athol’ and ‘NRR’ carry a strong whiff of Black Sabbath’s loose-limbed heaviness.
¦ Elsewhere, the hypnotic instrumental coda that crowns the simultaneously serene and confrontational ‘When the Fire is Dead in the Grate’ bows down to the momentum-building potential of drums and bass, with results that bring to mind Swedish psych-folk rock cult heroes Dungen. The complicated song structures (‘All Returns’ goes through four parts during the 80 seconds before the vocals start, and that’s the single) are informed by vintage prog rock. However, what might initially sound like an overwhelming array of ideas eventually becomes Fain‘s greatest strength, as all those rapidly shifting motifs and riffs unveil their razor-sharp fangs.
¦ The song showcases a very organic fusion of calm melancholy and heaviness, starting out slowly with a gloomy guitar melody and simple drum work that drops into a decidedly more upbeat instrumental. The verses are very soft and driven by Jack Sharp’s melancholic vocals while the choruses are contrastingly more punch and feature some distorted guitar work.
¦ Old-school electric folk rock is pretty apparent yet the fuzzy guitars, slow tempo and raw production actually suggest a touch of conventional doom metal. Just think The Albion Band meets early-era Black Sabbath with a tiny hint of Led Zeppelin and you get a rough idea. I’m throwing out some pretty old comparables here so needless to say ‘All Returns’ sounds like a blast from the past in itself although I don’t mean that in a derogatory way. For me personally, the guitar work is the best element of the song especially the solo/breakdown at the halfway mark.
¦ Posted by musiceyz ⋅ March 15, 2013 ⋅ http://musiceyz.co.uk
Biography by Gregory Heaney
¦ The brainchild of singer and guitarist Jack Sharp, Wolf People started in 2005 when Sharp recorded a demo album in the English town of Bedfordshire. Named after the children’s book Little Jacko and the Wolf People, the band is a throwback to the bluesy psychedelia of Cream, Traffic, and early Jethro Tull, tackling the sounds of the past with a kind of nostalgic reverence. To fill out the lineup, Sharp recruited drummer Tom Watt, guitarist Joe Hollick, and bassist Dan Davies. The band released a few singles and EPs before pulling off a bit of a coup on the other side of the pond, becoming the first British band to sign to the indie label Jagjaguwar. In 2010, Wolf People had a busy release year, putting out both their debut recordings, Tidings, and first proper album, Steeple, in the same year. 2013 brought the more theatrical and psyche-touched sophomore album Fain.
|Wolf People — Fain (2013)|