From page 54 of Classic Rock Magazine November 2009
C osmic Egg 113DULAR The long-awaited second album from the rock wizards of Oz features three new band members, but the same killer grooves.
/( eeping up with Andrew Stockdale's Twitter feeds these past months has been entertainment itself. 'I he tone of Wollmother's leader, firing frantic missives from the LA studio where the band have prepped the follow-up to 2006's spectacular debut, is almost hysterically upbeat. "About to shred the solo on White Feather," he posts at one point, "possibly the greatest song written since Womack
Womack's Footsteps. Yes !"A few days later we read: "Looks like the title track is finished! It's a rollicking viking song! Will be a smash in the Netherlands!" Never mind that the Womack 8z Womack song he refers to was called Teardrops; you can excuse Stockdale's rabid enthusiasm. Less than six months earlier it looked like Wolfm other maybe finished for good.
The success of that first LP caught Stockdale, bassist Chris Ross and drummer Myles Heskett by surprise. It went five-times platinum in their native Australia, made the Top 30 in both the UK and US (where it sold over half a million copies) and garnered them a Grammy for Best Hard Rock Performance for Woman. led Zep invited them as guests for their induction into the UK Hall of Fame in November 2006 and suddenly Wolfmother were on Guitar Hero II, iPod ads and the soundtrack to Spiderman 3. Lars lllrich called them "awesome" and unlikely bedfellows Thom Yorke and Alice Cooper declared themselves firm fans. This was, after all, a killer band, tantalisingly poised between post-Zep heaviosity and the sharper end of stoner rock. You didn't have to be heavy or metal to like Wolfmother.
Then, after 'it's-all-going-nicely-thankyou' reports of a second album, there were sudden mutterings of
"irreconcilable differences and "longstanding frictions". In August 2008, Ross and Heskett quit, leaving Stockdale to conclude that "our collective vision might not have been as big as what we became." While his ex-bandmates formed Palace Of Fire, Stockdale was left scrabbling around for the pieces.
By February this year he was back, fronting a four-piece called White Feather for a couple of low-key dates in Oz. His new recruits were rhythm guitarist Aldan Nemeth, bassist Iau Peres
and drummer Dave Atkins. This, it transpires, is now Wolfmother Mk II. In truth, it isn't a million leagues from Wolfmother Mk I, but the switch from trio to quartet has both broadened and deepened
the sound without overindulging in the freedom it provides. Wol fib other are still a tight little package. If anything, the slings and arrows of the break-up appear to have stiffened Stockdale's resolve, Cosmic Egg being an affirmation of guiding principles. It's a record that simply magnifies what made Wolfmother great in the first place. Nine Inch NailsiSmashing Pumpkins producer Alan Moulder has answered Stockdale's call for "knock-your-head-off-rock'n'roll" by making the sound meaty, beaty and very big. California Queen, for instance, rocks like a monkey, features an ecstatic guitar solo and is raised up further by Stockdale's voice, which still sounds like Ozzy wailing from the peak of some misty mountain top. The same is true of White Feather, its scribbly riffs and cocky groove reminiscent of The Cult when they decided to ditch the bandanas and go all stadium-Flectric.
There's still room for texture, as on In The Morning, which starts like someone coming to after a rough night on the town, then ends like they've pulled on the party pants and are all primed to do it again. There's something vaguely Beatleslike about it too, with Stockdale's ringing guitar line shadowed by an acoustic counterpart from Nemeth that suggests QOTSA doing Revolver. Elsewhere there are hints of early Floyd, Steppenwolf and Kyuss circa Blues For The Red Sun. Primarily though, it's pure Wolfmother, be it the psychedelic maelstrom of Violence Of The Sun or the mighty title track with its rising guitar riff, explosion of serious power chords and full-pelt pedal-to-metal coda. Lyrically there's less of that daft stuff about white unicorns and sorcerers, not that Stockdale is offering anything overly profound this time. But he does hint at some kind of phoenix-like rebirth. Rising from the mystic haze I Standing in front of all creation,' he yells at one point. Yes, Wolfmother are back. And how.
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*1/Volfmother were formed in Sydney in 2000. Cosmic Egg is the long-awaited follow-up to 2006 debut, Wolfmother, which sold over 1.4 million worldwide. The new album was originally intended as a double. *Andrew Stockdale says that the LP title comes from a yoga pose he tried: "I thought, yeah, that's it. It's like the foetal pose." *As part of his new Record Club venture, in which likeminded musicians record a classic album in one day, Beck and friends have covered Songs Of Leonard Cohen. Among the contributors are Devendra Banhart, MGMT and Stockdale. *Stockdale also recently cut a song with Slash for the guitarist's forthcoming album.