Sunday 21 October 2012

Space Wolves - Space Wolves

Album review by KevW

Musically, New York's Space Wolves (is that the title of a new David Icke book or something?) hardly fly in the face of convention. This debut album is made up of fairly lo-fi, punky, surfy, garage-pop tunes that fit in nicely with much of the US's alternative guitar scene. What does differentiate them from the masses is their sheer refusal to milk their ideas and unnecessarily pad out songs with any needless aspects whatsoever. There are thirteen tracks on this self-titled album (available on cassette or free download) and it clocks in at around twenty minutes. Only twice do they venture into plus two-minute territory, almost unsure of what will happen to them, a bit like Felix Baumgartner wondering how his body would cope with passing the sound barrier. In fact the combined duration of tracks 2,3 and 4 barely get in spitting distance of the two-minute mark.

Short, sharp and to the point songs are nothing new of course, many punk/grunge/hardcore bands rattle through tracks at lightspeed, and there are countless examples of twenty second intermissions and stopgaps sprinkled throughout pop history. Space Wolves don't do that. Their music may be uptempo but it's hardly a riotous thrash, and the 26 second 'I Saw You (With Your Boyfriend)' and the 37 second 'She's A Drone' are actual songs, not just random sounds or intervals. 'Space Wolves' has an unhealthy preoccupation with pizza ('Here's A Pizza (Do You Love Me To?)', 'Pizza Ice Cream (Is My Dream)') and are prone to excessive overuse of brackets; check out the heroically titled '(((It Broke) My Heart) (When You Forgot)) My Name' or '(Find Me In) My (Parents') Basement'.

Ignoring what could be interpreted as novelty aspects, 'Space Wolves' is a very good album, spilling with melody and exuberance, it's not a load of goofy messing around but at the same time it's hardly a serious and philosophical dissection of the human condition. The talk of pizza, smoking pot and masturbation may indicate that this album could be one set to be adored by stoned students, but the rest of us can find much to like here too; there are some neat melodies, some off-kilter ideas and, importantly, a clutch of inventive and enjoyable songs. Unless there's some kind of evolution set to take place on future records then Space Wolves are likely to be nothing more than a footnote in the obscure section of a specialist music book. But then it's often those type of bands that are the best, isn't it?

Space Wolves' website

Stream or buy the album

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