England - Full Moon 174 - 11/21/10
A new acquaintance from England, and a new band from the fabulous Jagjaguwar label. It's not so often Jagjaguwar pick up British bands, but with Wolf People they've had a fruitful hunt in the English countryside.
Wolf People are Jack Sharp, Joe Hollick, Dan Davies and Tom Watt, and with Steeple they present their debut long player, after pulling a singles compilation entitled Tidings earlier this year. They hail from/are located in Bedford/London/North Yorkshire, Midlands, UK, and play very rough and groovy 1970s inspired rock. A progressive blues-style meets folk-rock. Out in the woods. Recorded in "..a converted chicken barn on the grounds of a 17th century Welsh mansion" Steeple kicks off with opener "Silbury Sands", and I'm easily charmed quite immediately, from the first chord. The folk-rock veil along with the guitar-riff and the cool and laidback rhythm section makes me sit back and enjoy. "Tiny Circle", with its flute, makes one think of Jethro Tull, or even Norwegian legends Prudence. But, this is mainly due to the driving flute. "Morning Born" is one of the best songs of the album, being a calm folk song diving into the coolest guitar-riffs, before tumbling into the next track, the instrumental "Cromlech". Which is a stunningly raw and rolling rock-jam. E.l.e.c.t.r.i.c. Then comes "One By One From Dorney Reach", a hairy rock piece stomping through the woods like, well, maybe a flock of wolves. The album closes with "Banks of Sweet Dundee Pt. 1" and "... Pt. 2", bringing an excellent folk-oriented end to a solid debut.
Steeple is mainly some 40 minutes of feelgood rock by a quartet glancing nearly 40 years backwards via their rear view mirror. An adjective from Jagjaguwar's
site stands out as indeed too the point: 'smoke-fogged'. Rawk on!
Copyright © 2010 Håvard Oppøyen