Wolves and the Radio - Wolves and the Radio (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Wolves and the Radio

Wolves and the Radio (2011)


Anthemic and melodic punk with gruff vocals. There is a lot of it about these days, primarily, one could say, thanks (or otherwise depending on your view) to the popularity of bands like Hot Water Music and, well, it's mainly Hot Water Music, as they have spawned a myriad of similar-sounding bands since their rise to the upper echelons of the world we call punk. That's not a bad thing, but with all kinds of music that get popular, there will be some watering down of what follows as bandwagons get jumped on and wakes are trailed in as people see an easy route to success.

That being said, over the last year a few bands who have that sound as described in the first sentence above have actually managed to release music that can begin to be listened to with only the slightest of nods in the direction of HWM. First came Arms Aloft, who released an excellent CD-EP last year, and they are followed by Wolves and the Radio, from Brighton, Mass., who, with this self-titled album show themselves as a band worthy of attention by fans of punk in general rather than narrowing it down to any particular band despite their sound.

Opening with guitars blazing, dual vocals and a strong sense of catchiness (which is inherent in most of the songs), WatR proceed at a generally lively pace to keep that formula at the forefront of most of the songs on this album. If you like the sing-along elements of bands, especially those with gruff voices, then this album is for you. For me, the highlight is the fourth track, "Kellegra", which has all the key elements being brought together to get a synergistic result; a cracking song indeed.

It's not the only standout song, as it is followed by "Destination Nowhere", which has a Jawbreaker influence to it and has that catchiness prevailing throughout. Just because these make the biggest impression on me doesn't mean that the remainder of the album isn't up to much, but rarely does a band provide an album full of consistently high-quality material–WatR do have a good stab at it, though, with "St. Maria" and "Waves" proving to be strong songs.

The album slows down with two acoustic numbers at the end, showing a slightly different side to the band, making me think of them more along the lines of Against Me!. I had thought that "Adelaide" might be a cover of the the Rockfordstrack, but no, another band are writing about that Australian city.

The whole No Idea/HWM/AM! musical fashion has given us some new decent bands to listen to, so this should not be dismissed so derisively as some are prone to do. Wade through the waters and you will discover some that are capable of staying afloat rather than drowning into a world of obscurity. Wolves and the Radio float and in doing so provide a strong debut album that many should enjoy.