Release Date: Nov 11, 2016
Record label: Jagjaguwar
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Indie Rock, Heavy Metal, Neo-Psychedelia, Stoner Metal
2014's Fain saw the English rockers pounding out a mystic blast of bottom-heavy folk-rock that split the difference between "Immigrant Song"-era Led Zeppelin, the heavier side of Fairport Convention, and the bug-eyed, progressive folk-rock outliers Comus. The aptly named Ruins continues down that leafy, Wicker-Man-with-Marshall--stacks path, doubling down on the neo-pagan psych-metal with a knotty 12-track set that boasts some of the band's best material to date. The LP wastes little time in going for the jugular, delivering a pair of bluesy, wickedly fuzzed-out stadium fillers in "Ninth Night" and "Rhine Sagas," With each new album, Wolf People have been steadily upping their game in the six-string department, and Ruins is no exception, with guitarists Jack Sharp and Joe Hollick unleashing torrents of nervy, reel-kissed riffage that consistently threads the needle between major and minor -- think Richard Thompson at his most unhinged.
One of the less remarked upon facets in music’s resurfacing of the past is the unlikely crossover in tastes between a certain kind of folk-loving indie musician and the sort of denim-leather-and-sideburns chap who believes every cross should be inverted and each amp turned to 11. The Decemberists have ventured into doomy, clanging metallic themes; Wand alternate between gentle pastoralism and Sabbatheseque riffing. The English quartet Wolf People are the most obvious combination of that duality – tracks such as Ninth Night or Night Witch have more in common with Saint Vitus than Fairport Convention, but where doom metal obsesses over the occult, Wolf People prefer historical esoterica (Ninth Night is based on an 18th-century thieves’ incantation).
Its makers have claimed that the overarching theme of Ruins is of nature reclaiming the land, but though Wolf People are fascinated by the power of nature, they also aren’t a band to shy away from harnessing modern technology in order to aid it. There’s an instinctive and unsterile realness that underpins their being, but Ruins is a much more polished release than previous efforts. This is a band who do not easily rally under commonly defined banners; instead their work often sits awkwardly alongside them, and when it doesn't, it's instead constantly crisscrossing boundaries.
Britain’s Wolf People may as well be called Earth People. The four-man psych/prog/folk rockers have created a musical beast that is grizzled, primitive and speaks of a utopia where nature reclaims the land around us. The title of their latest album, Ruins, refers to the ruins of civilization, according to singer/guitarist Jack Sharp. “We’re constantly veering towards complete frustration with the human race one moment,” he says, “and celebrating all the positive things about humanity the next.” The trick is to do this without sounding trite or preachy, and on Ruins, they largely succeed.
Jo Kendall on the latest releases from Wolf People, Jean-Michel Jarre, Shaman Elephant, James McArthur and Mike Keneally Wolf People - Ruins It’s No More Mister Nice Guy(s) for intellectual Brit psych-rocker types Wolf People. Months of on-the-go production – drummer and engineer Tom Watt making use of his portable recording kit, capturing takes in all places, at all times – has resulted in the quartet going one louder on their third album. From the get-go they sound decidedly fucked off, frontloading Ruins with a trio of dirty, Vertigo-style garage-rock belters, exclaiming ‘Tear it down!’ on Rhine Sagas, before lead guitarist Joe Hollick attempts Tony McPhee-levels of eardrum-rupturing splitter work on the densely groovy Night Witch.