Surprises are great. Sometimes working as a reviewer feels like you’re merely drowning in press releases, with every band‘s new EP talked up as being on par with the Second Coming. This can especially gripe when you’re juggling uni deadlines with not getting paid to run this PR gauntlet.
But it’s worth it for albums like Hey Werewolves. In both name and description (“emotional post rock cinematic”), this is a band I would usually avoid like the plague. But on their new release, the follow up to well-received debut The Lamps Of Terrahead, El Dog weave a web of songs, more complex than simple soft/loud numbers, that prove utterly engrossing.
After the mood is set with a short intro track (why do bands not do these anymore ?) the album kicks off proper with ‘Hey Werewolves’. The song sounds like something that could only be written by Scots. Beautiful, with overtones of melancholy and a tinge of hope, its slow build up proves hugely satisfying. Following track ‘Dancin’ builds on this atmosphere with harmonies aplenty, and is driven to climax by underlying pondering guitars.
‘Cub’ is the remembrance of youth. It is love and anguish perfectly sculpted by singer Bob Rafferty with some of the best lyrics and imagery all year (“this labyrinth my hometown”, “The magic in your language/That was and always is”).
‘Blossom’ and ‘Drop Dead’ prove more of straight-up rock outs with duelling guitars and rising vocals. Penultimate track ‘Store Front Music’ returns to the album’s gentler side, with a bit of keys, a touch of synths and definitely something Biffy Clyro would rip off. The album comes to its natural conclusion with ‘Sunrise’ (opener was the ‘Sundown’) completing the piece’s imagery and beguiling sound.
An album I didn’t expect to like, but one I really enjoyed winning me over.
Listen to and Download a free copy of Hey Werewolves now : http://eldog.co.uk/album/hey-werewolves
Playing Pivo Pivo on 18th December
And since it’s (almost) that time of year check out the band’s Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow Christm