I love discovering new music. Being editor of Hercules Moments I get to listen to lots of great new bands, but none have impressed me so much, so instantly, as Wolf People have. Wolf People are an English psychedelic rock band. I say this, and you’re probably thinking they’re a bunch of hairy dudes trying to be some sort of 60s or 70s copycat band. Not even. They're really cool, and allegedly make the sort of music that they, as avid record collectors, would be happy to find.
Influenced by bands like Sabbath, Television, Fairport Convention, Dungen, and a load of early 70s British bands I doubt many of us have ever heard of, Wolf People certainly have their sound down to a T. They've even been compared to Jethro Tull and Led Zeppelin. This is a band that mixes their influences perfectly: their prevailing prog-rock sound is combined with great blues-rock riffs, fuzzy vibes and folky vocals that wouldn’t be out of place in the playlist of a Radio 1 daytime show or in your dad’s record collection. I could see a bunch of stoned hippies swaying to Thief at a festival in the 70s, but I could also see some young guy driving his car listening to this and drumming his fingers on the wheel today.
Their debut album, Steeple, was recorded in a converted chicken barn on the grounds of a 17th century Welsh mansion. Their latest album, Fain, was recorded in a similar vein: an isolated house in the Yorkshire Dales. To many this may sound pretentious and clichéd, but when you really listen to the music they have made there you can tell the relaxed setting had a great effect on their playing, as they do it so well. Their musical influences, talent and the atmosphere of the landscape all work together really well to create a unique, worldly sound. This probably won’t make much sense unless you listen to them. So seriously, pick up their latest album and put it on full volume, because it’s ace.
The lead single and second song from Fain, All Returns, is possibly my favourite song from the album, perhaps because it’s the first song by the band that I heard, and the one that made me instantly become a huge fan of them. With soft vocals and harmonies which remind me of Crosby, Stills and Nash, and melodies which build up into a swelling, riff-laden bridge of old-school rock n’ roll goodness, this is the perfect introduction to the band, if you need one.
Athol, Hesperus and Answer, three consecutive songs in the middle of the album, are the other highlights of Fain for me. Especially Hesperus. I don’t know what to say about them other than that they’re brilliant. They remind me of a lot of songs and a lot of bands, and yet nowhere, even on the rest of the album, do they sound like they’re ripping anyone off.
Fain ends on a high with NRR, a somewhat heavier song than the rest, with a slight funk and southern rock touch to it. The perfect end to a great rock record. Even Stewart Lee (yes, that Stewart Lee) has praised it, saying that “Wolf People are positing an alternate early Seventies musical reality that nearly, but never quite actually, happened.” (Read the rest of his brilliant Non-Press Release for Fain here.)
Wolf People are treading into a territory that not many other bands would dare head into but they do it very, very well. They’re psychedelic prog-rock for the modern day. Hooray for 70s music revival!
Fain by Wolf People is out on the 29th April on Jagjagwar.