Upon reviewing Wolfmother’s latest release, “New Crown” I went in immediately with a feeling that generated little optimism. Not to be completely negative, but Guitarist Andrew Stockdale was coming off a freshly disappointing solo album and it has been 5 years since the sophmore slump “Cosmic Egg” album was released, which was a far cry from their copied, but refreshing and listenable self titled debut. With a revolving door of lineups that would make Axl Rose dizzy and 9 years distance from the (mostly) well received debut, “Wolfmother” is no longer really Wolfmother. They should really just call themselves the “Andrew Stockdale Band” or something like that.
The opening track, “How many times” is watered down, like a rowboat in a tsunami. It is teeming with borrowed Sabbath riffery and sounds like it was hastily recorded, with little preparation. The lyrics are devoid of any originality and the song just trails off. Not a good sign for an opening track.
That is the case for the first half of the album. From sheer annoyance at the poor production, or production location, maybe a series of tin shacks? to the tinny vocals, “stoner rock” hooks to the false hope of a good beginning of a song then a complete collapse. The first half of the album is largely forgettable and not really worth listening to.
“New Crown” does pick up a little steam with “Feelings” which has a somewhat fresh sound to it, like a punked up kinks song, so there is some hope, not too bad overall. “I ain’t got no” captures some of the old magic with cool riffs and vocals, but sounds a little cribbed, yet still good. The album then regresses again with some weak closing numbers. Annoyance sets in again, with fragmented songs with elements of bad acid rock and weak acoustic passages and a general feeling of throwing any rock riff at a wall, to see what sticks. While some of the songwriting has great moments, most do not translate to good vocal interpretation on this album.
Finally, if “Cosmic Egg” is a far cry from the debut release, “New Crown” would have to be a moaning wail from both of the first 2 releases. I do not know what “Wolfmother” is going to do next, but it cannot get much worse,
I give this album a generous 1.5 stars out of 5 stars
“Feelings” “I aint got no” “She got it”