Epic stuff this. Wolvves, the debut long-ish player from eaststrikewest, kicks off with a shoegazey instrumental (‘God Can’t Take His Eyes Off Me’) that builds into a dramatic wall of sound reminiscent of Explosions in the Sky, or 65 Days of Static: three minutes of massive building guitar and string noise.
The first minute of second track ‘Stumble’ seems to be going the same way, until one minute in the vocals arrive. Singer Tom Clark has a soaring voice that manages to climb higher than the musical crescendos it does battle with, which is quite a feat. Again layers of guitars, keys and strings ebb and flow: it’s like Thom Yorke at full welly singing over an orchestra battling Mogwai.
‘Welcoming The Ghost’ tones down the mayhem but ramps up the gothy shoegazing. It drips with chiller atmosphere, like the classic slowies from early Depeche Mode albums such as ‘A Broken Frame’. It builds and teases for more than five minutes to a crashing crescendo before filler ‘Chu!’ lightens the mood and gives your emotions a mental interlude.
Another six-minute epic (‘The Architect’) follows the same vein as earlier, before ‘Every Word’ and ‘Whisper’ does, well, more of the same. ‘Electricity’ starts out slow and does top quality shoegazing by numbers (that’s no insult) for another five minutes plus. It may well be the pick of the bunch though.
‘From Here You Can See Everything’ is short, empty, atmospheric and very probably a song or two too late, as things had become a little stodgy for me by then. Wolvves is compelling debut, with some outstanding tracks, but for me the best moments are just a little too samey to make this a classic.