On first glance, it’s easy to be misled by artist name “Wolf Gang,” however it’s safe to say when uncovered, the sound bears no resemblance to that of cult rap sensation Odd Future” and secondly, would sound out of place soundtracking the sombre setting of the album artwork that looks like a daylight scene from an amateur horror film.
An unusual preconception to start with, on the first listen to opening track ‘Lions in Cages,’ it has to be said that the intro is promising, and whilst the simple hooks & riffs are reluctantly catchy, the chorus is practically incomprehensible lyrically, and the bridge sounds like a cringeworthy build up to an explosion of fireworks and confetti, the kind of thing you might expect at a Katy Perry concert.
The first couple of tracks embody a poppy, upbeat energy, with the feeling that Max McElligott is pouring all his passion for…well…nothing in particular into his falsetto crooning which quite frankly makes exhausting listening. And that’s only for the first three tracks.
As if soundtracking a cheap broadway musical, it seems as though a sudden trial and tribulation arises and the exuberance that we were so overwhelmed by has been drained when it comes to title track, ‘Suego Faults,’ conjuring imagery of not a gang of wolves, but a lone wolf under a spotlight encased in darkness.
One thing they have got right though is the contrast between that of ‘Suego Faults’ and ‘The King and All of His Men,’ which finally gives a welcome break from the similarity that all of the first few tracks seem to share. At several points I found myself thinking, “haven’t I already heard this one?” only to look at the tracklisting and see that I was actually halfway through a song.
Towards the end of the album, it feels as though ‘Wolf Gang’ are starting to lose the direction, which was never really clear to begin with, the tone begins to get darker and heavier however it feels as though all that shrill wailing has exhausted him and there’s nothing in the songs that grabs your attention.
Admittedly, it feels like McElligott has genuinely tried really hard with his debut album but the feeling of inexperience doesn’t make for an intriguing naivety, it’s the kind of inexperience that makes the album sound more as though it’s made up of demos recorded on a karaoke machine.
In places it feels as though he’s run out of sounds and lyrics making for an overall patchy record full of futile repetition in order to bulk out the otherwise empty gaps that needed filling for the sake of it, however his sense of determination and ambition (the album is a lengthy 13 songs all around 4 minutes long,) you get the feeling that you perhaps should want to like him, just incase it does pick up, yet way before the end you’re left feeling severely disappointed. His perseverance results in a couple of listenable tracks that wouldn’t go amiss on a playlist for alternative newcomers to the top 40, in all honesty I think if I were blindfolded and told that this was a Scissor Sisters comeback album then I probably wouldn’t have been all that surprised.
Wolf Gang is comparable to what can only be described as the morally questionable lovechild of MGMT, Mika and Everything Everything, there’s something very familiar and played out about it.
By Bella Roach