Portland’s scrappy Wolf Colonel is prolific genius waiting in the wings; waiting, patiently, for the world to catch up to them as their plentiful ditties and mighty songwriting prowess continue to spill forth in massive quantities. Word is steadily spreading about Wolf Colonel’s take on punk balladry just in time for the release of their sophomore album The Castle, barely seven months after the release of their righteous debut Vikings of Mint. Prepare to be floored by the leap forward the band has made with this extraordinary new record.
Whereas Vikings of Mint perfected the power of brevity behind 15 shards of ultra-melodic, high volume pop nuggets, The Castle nurtures this perspective by allowing the new tunes to blossom stylistically, with diversity leading the way. Some tracks are stripped bare with only acoustic guitar and vocals in accompaniment, harkening back to the roots of Wolf Colonel when it was the moniker for leader Jason Anderson as he banged out a sixty song set list to astonished audiences in various dorm rooms and performance spaces. Some tunes actually expand into winding, lengthy excursions, in contrast to their brand of time sensitive, hook laden power pop blasts. When Wolf Colonel’s concise hooks are in full flight, they benefit from some well-placed studio tricks and a BIG sounding production. Matured in every which way, Wolf Colonel have constructed an album of delectable ear candy that expands upon their mesh of Beatles-esque harmonies and hardcore punk’s (a la Minutemen) concise delivery. Topped by a hearty dose of humorous commentary on rock ’n’ roll posturing that’s best demonstrated in their roaring live performances, no one can touch this rabid musical animal.
Evolution sometimes comes right under your nose; where Wolf Colonel is concerned, even those in the know are tossed for a loop. A wealth of material flowering from a cash crop of creativity and a sharp expansion in sound…Wolf Colonel aren’t mere travelers on power pop’s highways, they’re re-mapping the entire terrain. Best pay strict attention.
released September 12, 2000
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