Having garnered both commercial and critical success with their eponymous 2005 debut album, Aussie retro-rockers Wolfmother fell apart due to musical differences. Seriously. Even their break-up was heavily indebted to Rock’s golden era. However, singer/guitarist Andrew Stockdale clung onto the name, recruited three presumably passive musicians and made a follow up album, Cosmic Egg.
To say that Stockdale continues where he left off on Wolfmother’s previous album is like saying Hitler was a bit of a knob. By that I mean a grand understatement. This latest offering could easily have been packaged as a double album with it’s predecessor such are the similarities and continued themes such as sorcery, staring vacantly into oblivion’s still valleys, naked, having lost your clothes, and yet more sorcery.
In the intervening four years between albums it is instantly clear that Stockdale hasn’t been listening to any new music whatsoever. The inspiration and influences which helped shape the band’s debut are still ever-present: The White Stripes guitar stylings on New Moon Rising screech and scream like a banshee whilst White Feather is AC/DC at their most radio-friendly; elsewhere the colossal Zeppelin-like stomp of Sundial and 10,000 Feet strut cockily onward.
When it’s good the album is a force to be reckoned with. California Queen gallops forth into a tie-dyed sunset and Pilgrim piles on more Priapismic riffage. Ah, the riffs. There are some truly filthy riffs present throughout - riffs so mucky you’ll feel compelled to have a wash after listening.
However, when the album is bad it’s pretty nullifying. The record lets itself down on In the Morning, a self-indulgent track with a genteel introduction exploding into beaming power-chords before descending into a rambling guitar solo/wank. Far Away is a tepid stab at the power-ballad and the song “most likely to encourage holding lighters aloft”. It even has a bit of November Rain ivory tinkling at the end.
Final track Violence of the Sun is the album’s Altamont. A droning, dying beast, thrashing around in it’s own excretia with it’s last ounces of energy, it provides little comfort. In fact, it’s mildly distressing.
This isn’t groundbreaking in any conceivable interpretation of the word yet it is never meant to be. This is Guitar Music for the Guitar Hero generation; guitar solo as proof of ability, riff as king. A celebration of the glorious overblown pomposity of Rock music, Cosmic Egg is a stoned, shaggy album, tailor-made for beach parties whose attendees are Gap models with Rolling Stones tongues on their t-shirts. Tell Jim Morrisson I said Hi, maaaan.