|Wolfmother — Victorious [Best Buy Edition] (February 19, 2016)|
Wolfmother — Victorious [Best Buy Edition] (February 19, 2016)
Location: Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Album release: 19 February 2016
Recorded: 2015 at Henson Recording Studios (Hollywood, California)
Genre: Hard rock, stoner rock, heavy metal, neo~psychedelia
Record Label: UMe/Universal
01. The Love That You Give 2:35
02. Victorious 4:21
03. Baroness 3:12
04. Pretty Peggy 3:45
05. City Lights 3:47
06. The Simple Life 3:09
07. Best of a Bad Situation 3:04
08. Gypsy Caravan (written by Stockdale and Kram) 3:31
09. Happy Face 3:30
10. Eye of the Beholder 3:57
11. Remove Your Mask 3:54
12. Wedding (written by Stockdale and Christoph Bartelt) 3:17
• All tracks written by Andrew Stockdale, except where noted.
• Andrew Stockdale — vocals, guitar, bass
• Ian Peres — organ
• Josh Freese — drums (tracks 1, 2, 3, 4, 7, 9 and 10)
• Joey Waronker — drums (tracks 5, 6, 8, 11 and 12)
• Brendan O’Brien — production, mixing, additional percussion, organ, piano and guitar
• Tom Syrowski — engineering
• Kyle Stevens — engineering assistance
• Jason Galea — cover artwork, design
• Piper Ferguson — photography
Chart (2016) Peak position:
? Australian Albums (ARIA) #17
? Austrian Albums (Ö3 Austria) #9
? Belgian Albums (Ultratop Flanders) #35
? Belgian Albums (Ultratop Wallonia) #49
? Canadian Albums (Billboard) #33
? Dutch Albums (MegaCharts) #20
? Finnish Albums (Suomen virallinen lista) #34
? French Albums (SNEP) #129
? German Albums (Offizielle Top 100) #9
? Italian Albums (FIMI) #92
? Spanish Albums (PROMUSICAE) #61
? Swiss Albums (Schweizer Hitparade) #5
? UK Albums (OCC) #25
? UK Rock & Metal Albums (OCC) #1
? US Billboard 200 #71
? US Top Alternative Albums (Billboard) #9
? US Top Hard Rock Albums (Billboard) #2
? US Top Rock Albums (Billboard) #11
? US Top Tastemaker Albums (Billboard) #8
♠ When it was released in 2005, Wolfmother’s eponymous debut was exactly what rock & roll needed: a meaty, beaty, big and bouncy genre resuscitator that not only broke through to the mainstream, but broke big. Wolfmother was certified Gold in the States and Triple~Platinum in the band’s Australian homeland. Lead single ‘Woman’ hit top ten on the Hot Modern Rock Tracks Chart and won a Grammy for ‘Best Hard Rock Performance.’ Their songs became ubiquitous, appearing in films (Shrek, Jackass, The Hangover), video games (Need For Speed, MLB: The Show, Saints Row) and television commercials (Apple, Mitsubishi). No wonder Rolling Stone named it one of the best albums of the year.
♠ Led by vocalist/guitarist Andrew Stockdale, Wolfmother have amassed a global fanbase, played to packed~house crowds around the world, delivered show~stealing sets at star~studded festivals like Coachella, Lollapalooza and Reading and Leeds, and have been invited to share stages with rock icons Aerosmith and AC/DC. For their induction into the UK Music Hall of Fame, Led Zeppelin personally invited Wolfmother as their guests (the band showed their appreciation by delivering an electrifying cover of ‘Communication Breakdown’). For most artists, such accomplishments usually mark the culmination of a career if they’re lucky.
♠ But ten years after their arrival, Wolfmother have returned with what could arguably be called their best work to date. With Victorious, Stockdale once again arrives right on time: in an era dominated by single~song downloads, this is an album worthy of repeat listens from top to bottom. Following 2009’s Cosmic Egg and 2014’s New Crown, the much~anticipated Victorious (Universal Music Enterprises) is an electrifying testament to the range and depth of Stockdale’s artistry. Recorded at Henson Studios in Los Angeles with two~time Grammy winning producer Brendan O’Brien (Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Bruce Springsteen), the songs are edgy, inventive and uncompromising and rank among the band s best ever.
♠ The first single ‘Victorious’ swings from a propulsive riff and pronounced drum stomp into a gargantuan, triumphant vocal hook. ‘I bought this weird~looking eighties metal guitar,’ he recalls. ‘It just looks hilarious and I was playing all of these riffs for 20 minutes, pairing them with drums. The lyrics came out of nowhere. It felt so natural. The words had a certain ring to them.’ The album announces itself with ‘Love That You Give,’ tempering a rousing and raucous riff with a soulful vocal refrain and vibrant lyricism. ‘I had a couple of drinks and started writing,’ he says. ‘By the end of the day, it was done. Nothing changed from the demo. The lyrical theme is, ‘How do you react to adversity or difficulties in life?’ You try to be proactive and put something positive back into the world instead of buying into other people’s aggression, negativity, or hatred. You’re counteracting emotions that get thrown at you.’ For the cinematic ‘Pretty Peggy,’ he strips everything down to an acoustic guitar and delicate beat, then illuminates his dynamic range over the sixties~style strut and handclap of ‘Best of a Bad Situation.’ About the thick~grooved ‘Gypsy Caravan,’ Stockdale says, ‘'the title references the transient lifestyle. When people finish high school, they want to backpack around the world. When people retire, it’s the same thing; they want to get an RV and ride around. Things are constantly moving. There’s a romantic notion of the musical life, but wanderlust truly unites all of us.’ Ultimately, Victorious is meant for the road ~ that’s where Wolfmother roars to life.
♠ There’s something telling about the fact that the cover of Wolfmother’s fourth album, Victorious, was posted online in blank black~and~white, with fans encouraged to color it in themselves.
♠ Since the Australian group’s self~titled debut in 2005, singer~guitarist Andrew Stockdale has written songs that are magnificently generic — a stew of vintage rock influences in which listeners can hear almost anything they want, from the stomp of Led Zeppelin to the scuzz of the MC5 to the scream of Deep Purple to the scrape of The White Stripes. Just as an arena is built to hold anyone and everyone, Wolfmother’s arena~rock is designed to contain everything that inspires it.
♠ That blankness isn’t a drawback; it’s Wolfmother’s strength. And Victorious is glorious proof. After many lineup changes over the past few years, Stockdale and the latest incarnation of the band (bassist Ian Peres and drummer Vin Steel) have crafted 10 songs that screech for the stars. Like Wolfmother’s last album, 2014’s New Crown, Victorious alternates between midtempo, organ~slathered ballads and galloping, pseudo~Sabbath monsters. “Baroness” is all sweet melody and saucy come~ons, with Stockdale unafraid to ask, straight up, “Tonight, tonight, tonight / Could you be my valentine?” It’s a testament to self~conviction that he pulls it off without sounding cheesy — or, more to the point, he sounds just cheesy enough. It helps that the album’s title track is a chunky, buzzing eruption of hooks and unapologetic triumphalism, the kind of anthemic release that strikes down irony and cynicism with a touch.
♠ Every time Victorious careens toward full~on heavy metal, such as in “City Lights,” Stockdale yanks the reins toward Cheap Trick~esque power~pop, with winning results. Lines about “psychedelic satellites” may look silly in print, but in context they’re delivered with euphoric romanticism. Even at its heaviest, namely “Gypsy Caravan,” the album locks into a supernatural groove that revels in its own hokey mystical imagery. The same goes for “Eye Of The Beholder,” a trippy dose of bludgeoning acid~rock that Uriah Heep would have been proud to call its own.
♠ The album’s most tender track, “Pretty Peggy,” is also its least retro; an acoustic torch song, it comes with a slickly harmonized, larger~than~life, woah~woah~woah chorus that’s more fun. than Grand Funk. It also feels more obligatory than heartfelt, but it’s a minor bump in an otherwise uproarious, fist~pumping exercise in connecting the classic~rock dots. “Don’t you ever feel like you’ve had enough?” Stockdale chants in the lighter~raising breakdown of “Victorious.” If he happens to be asking about Wolfmother as a whole, Victorious answers with a resounding no. ♠ http://www.npr.org/
|Wolfmother — Victorious [Best Buy Edition] (February 19, 2016)|