Wolfsbane – Genius (Wolfgenius) – The sound of four people really not giving a flying flip what anyone thinks and life’s too short and I must admit we probably haven’t seen Wolfsbane since the last century, and yeah I know they’re born again and yes, they were in London last week as part of their latest tour and hey, if you’re going play a gig down the road on the same day as a Cultivate show then HMS No.27 is going to have to give it a miss (why do I know I’m number 27 without ever having to look it up?). Truth be told it was a polite excuse in terms of not being there, “love to but hey, I’ve got something on, sorry”. If I’m really be truthful here, I haven’t really been that bothered about checking out Wolfsbane, they won’t be anything like they were and we’ve all moved on and leave it where it was..
So Wolfsbane have a new album, they were regulars on these fractured Organ pages back in the days of broken photocopiers and spray painted covers and bagloads of zines sold by hand every night of course – slightly drunken soundcheck interviews in the Walthamstow Royal Standard car park, election night chaos at the Wardour Street Marquee, Atom Seed raids in on Wolfsbane’s Tamworth home turf, glorious adventures everywhere and then off they went and off we went, different paths. And yeah, nothing worse than an old band who don’t know when they’re well (well) past their sell by date right? And yes, this really is the sound of an old band really not giving a flying flip what anyone like me thinks, and anyway, we said they would never last and this should not be happening and nah, I’m not interested, been there, done that, it was great fun, it was several lifetimes ago, there’s a million tales to tell down the pub like that time at the Buckley Tiv or that gig down the Charring Cross Road and that time up all those flights at Birkenhead Stairways and nah, that was then and this is now and we can’t live in the past and party like it still 1989 and don’t think about tomorrow and..
And then someone (from the Lost Tribe) threw out some more social media clickbait and life’s too short and okay, I’ll be polite, I’ll have a quick listen and it is kind of good to see the four of them still and there with their following of familiar names and yeah, the bits of live video they kept posting as they made their way around those old places put a smile on our faces but hey, that was then, surely they must be well well well past their sell by date and get out of my way with it all and nah, I’m not interested in a new Wolfsbane album, they’re surely so last century and no no no we’ve got somewhere better to go and no no no and okay just a quick listen to this song someone left on my feed and the generous spirit of music and do you know how to feel? And hang on, they’re not supposed to be this good?! Where are we? Wolfsbane in 2022? Surely they’re not supposed to be this full of sensitive emotion and sometimes it is more than just a band and I was born in ’69 and yes, it is a sound that lives within a soul and bloody ‘ell Wolfsbane, don’t tell anyone but this is a tearjerker and yes! Let’s have some more, what else do they have on this new album and just one quick listen now I’m here and…
I was born in ’69 closes this new album, I started at the end, surely the rest of it can’t be as good? Genius is the sound of four people really not giving a flying flip what anyone like me thinks and for what any of this is worth the fact that they don’t really care what we have to say flows through it all – this is the sound of a band, in the best of possible ways, not giving a shit – this is the sound of being alive, this is fun, this is big shit-eating mile-wide smiles, actually this is gloriously good! This is still living the dream and Rock City nights and setting the zombies houses on fire and Spit It Out and I imagine you’re rightly not that bothered what we have to say either and this is more of their very working class down to earth Midlands of England take on Van Halen’s heavy metal party only this time they’re celebrating themselves, they’re waving a great big single finger to the world in general and you’re either with them and part of it or you’re not and who cares? They don’t! In all honestly I was hoping to avoid eye contact, I was expecting to have to politely ignore it and yeah, nice one, good to see them still out there and politely move on and get out of my way, nothing’s gonna stop us, and they’re not following anyone’s rules any more, actually, did they ever?
And as ridiculous as it might be to even think about quietly asking yourself the question, let alone actually putting the question out there, but is this the best Wolfsbane have ever sounded in the studio? They’ve found their old guitars and opened up the bars and Is this the sound a band totally at ease with life and themselves and where they’re at? All pressure off, zero fucks given, the four of them just enjoying it like they probably haven’t done since those very early early bright-eyed old wreck of an ex post office van and demo tape days and well these songs are actually rather good – the sound is good, the playing spot on, the sentiment brilliant, the stories, the celebrations, the riffs, the backward glances, the forward looks.
They’ve always had a way with songs, with their words, they’ve always done it with a smile, taken just the right amount of piss out of themselves, they’ve always been the ones on the run – Daddy didn’t tell me what to do, When the girls run after you! Should I run? Should I hide? Should I stay and lose my pride? Wolfsbane have always got the strut and the cut of their metal just right, just the right side of seriousness and yes, as ridiculous as it might be, and whisper this, are we really suggesting they might be as relevant here in 2022 as they were when the likes of Rick Rubin were championing them back there? And totally unexpected and painting the town as red as ever and brilliant and Genius and yes, the generous spirit of music and do you know how to feel and yes, sometimes it is more than just a band and wow, that final song on what is an excellent album! What a way to end an album! There’s no way you can listen to that closing track, -I was born in ’69 – and not have your heart swell up just a little with that generous spirit of their music. I wasn’t ever expecting to say Wolfsbane had made their own Whole World Window, Really wasn’t expecting to spend the day with the new Wolfsbane album on repeat and scream and shout and let it all out, didn’t expect any of that, nice one, brilliant, this is what it was and is all about, love it… (sw)
Wolfsbane website / Facebook / photo credits: who knows, we stole them all off social media,
Wolfsbane are still, just as they’ve always have been, lead vocalist Blaze Bayley, guitarist Jase Edwards, bassist Jeff Hateley and drummer Steve Danger.
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