Review: Wolvespirit – 'Free'

I am going to be bold in my opening statements and declare that this is, so far, the best album I have heard this year! Yes, in my eyes or ears, this is a fantastic masterpiece of rock music that has blown away everything else I have listened to so far. From the extremely high production to the smallest backing vocals, Wolvespirit oozes quality and class. They have even managed to steal the main riff from ‘Whole Lotta Rosie’ and turned it into a funky, psychedelic thing of beauty. Phew!

Wolvespirit hail from Wurzburg in Germany, where they all live together in an art commune. It seems to have served them well musically, bringing them together to create a sound with influences from the 60’s and 70’s, psychedelic rock with a blues based, laid back feel. Hammond organs and wah wah guitar solo’s, all topped off with the superb vocals of Debby Craft. Despite all the obvious comparisons they manage to retain an identity of their own, there is a modern twist that stops them from being just another ‘Black Crowes’.

‘I am Free’ gets procedings underway and sets the scene perfectly. Driving guitars, courtesy of Richard Eberlein, are not only backed by the bass and drums of Andreas Hofmann and Daniel Scholz but positively lifted and pushed along, driving the verse superbly . Things are then lifted even further for the chorus, the superb sound of the Hammond organ, as played by Oliver Eberlein, takes us onto a whole other plane of amazingness. Debbie’s vocals are just superb, a chorus that is so stuck in my head, backed with backing vocals from the boys. I am in heaven!

‘Shining’ kicks off with guitar work that really reminds me of ‘The Red Hot Chilli Peppers’ but the rhythm follows a much more blues based ethos. Again we are treated to the uplifting, almost Gospel style chorus, that lifts the track onto another level. We are treated to a guest vocal appearance from Mark Slaughter, this lifts things even more, their two voices work so well together. Prog rock, blues, gospel, there are no boundries that confine Wolvespirit and they are all the better for it!

This leads us nicely to one of two questionable moments! ‘Let me Live’, has a riff that runs through most of the song and is very reminiscent of a famous woman called ‘Rosie’!! Despite the similarities, the differences make the difference, and we are treated to an altogether more funky and cool version of the aforementioned riff while remaining unique as a song!? ‘Angelman’ is suspicious moment number 2. The intro had me convinced we were going to listen to a cover version of ‘Paranoid’, BUT…..that all changes as we head into the more laid back world of ‘Wolvespirit’. I am assuming that these more than obvious nods to songs of old are a way of acknowledging the influences on this band of the here and now.

We are not even half way through this album and I have already almost run out of phrases to praise their music and sound. I could go song by song repeating myself in description, but that would do a diservice to the band and their music.There is no repetition of any kind of formula, just good rock music that varies from stomp rockers like ‘Moonlight’, followed by the acoustic goodness of ‘My Best Friend’ into hard rockin ‘Wild Woman’. All this flows with an ease that belies the skill and musicianship that has gone into the making of this record.

Mark Slaughter returns on the heavily influenced Hendrix track ‘This is Love’ and once again we are treated to some blues driven hard rock goodness that touches my soul. I will not apologise for liking this album as much as I do, this is musical Nirvana for me. Quality, style, groove and foot tappin’ goodness all wrapped up in one heavenly package. I could produce a list of bands who I think would suit as influences of ‘Wolvespirit’ but none of them would be exactly right, for despite the obvious they manage to incorporate something of themselves that keeps it fresh and up to date. They are now on my ‘must go see’ list for 2016!

Review Simon Larkin


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