Written by: PP on 24/04/2016 16:23:50

The tumultuous career of Wolfmother continues with their fourth studio album "Victorious", which has received its fair share of criticism for being derivative from various magazines. Well, if you know me, I love the type of records that focuses on what a band is good at, and in Wolfmother's case I think we can all agree that their self-titled debut from 2005 is still their career milestone and as such any album that circles back towards that psychedelic 70s rock driven rock'n'roll sound is a positive in my books. But don't take my word for it, take a listen to the lackluster sophomore album "Cosmic Egg", which was an attempt for the band to evolve into a new direction, and as is almost always the case for bands trying that, not with impressive results. The reunion album "New Crown" featured an 180-degree turn and returned Wolfmother to their retro rock roots, and look what happened? Great fucking album. So to see the band continue along the same tracks on "Victorious" and say it is derivative? Let's just say Wolfmother is right where their original fans want them to be. Almost.

That dilemma between derivative and evolution is on display in a flashy manner on the album. The best tracks on "Victorious" are so clearly those where they keep things simple and focus on killer 70s riffage and memorable, Zeppelin-inspired vocal wails instead of trying something overtly ambitious. "Gypsy Caravan", "Victorious", and "City Lights" are all classic Wolfmother songs that could've been on the debut album or on 2014's "New Crown", echoing the signature retro guitar distortion and keyboards together with technical, high energy guitar licks and instantly memorable vocal passages.

On the opposite corner, there are examples where the band artificially inflate their sound to sound dramatically big, and the result is boring pop rock songs that are dime-a-dozen on any radio station playing pop rock songs around the world. "Pretty Peggy", for instance, is superfluous for anyone but the radio rock crowd with its simplistic woo-ah-ooah pop rock ballad choral melody, and "Best Of A Bad Situation" sounds like a Kid Rock style, alabama rock song. No thanks.

The rest of the material lies somewhere in between these two styles. "Happy Face" is drenched in psychedelia. "Eye Of The Beholder" is a slower track but features Wolfmother's signature guitar scales, but the track itself sounds a little more like something that The White Stripes of Jack White could've written. "Baroness" is way too overproduced, leaving the track with too much polish to allow its dirty rock'n'roll groove to strike through in memorable fashion...you get the point. The good tracks are as good as Wolfmother have written to date, but the bad tracks have an eerie similarity to the failures of "Cosmic Egg". The result is a decent album but with decisive flaws that leave it standing somewhere between the latter album and "New Crown" in their back catalogue.


Download: Victorious, City Lights, Gypsy Caravan
For the fans of: Led Zeppelin, Rival Sons, The Parlor Mob, Jack White
Listen: Facebook

Release date 19.02.2016
Universal Music

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