Wolfmother – Rock ‘n’ Roll Baby (2019)

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Before sitting down to listen to, and write about this album, I did something that, as a rule, I never do – I read a bunch of other reviews.

I don’t think I read anything remotely positive about Rock ‘n’ Roll Baby, and that’s a shame, because it’s really not that bad.  So what if Wolfmother is basically just an Andrew Stockdale solo project these days, and so what if this doesn’t live up to the debut Wolfmother album…

It seems to me that people spend way too much of their time and energy on finding the negative in everything these days.  Why can’t people just enjoy music or movies or any kind of art for what it is – an expression of the artist at that current point in time.

Let go of negativity for negativities sake, and look for the good in everything.. you’ll be better for it.

Anyway, on to the album…

The album opens with “Higher”, and it’s a slab of Sabbath inspired riffage.  Stockdale’s trademark vocals remain very close to those found on the debut record, musically though, it’s far less commercial.  There’s a fairly independent feel at work here, and I like it.

“Rock ‘n’ Roll Survivor” really dives head first into the Sabbath vibes.  It’s a cool riff, but it’s VERY familiar, and even Stockdale’s vocals hit an Ozzy Osbourne style inflection at times.  With that said though, it’s a cool track – not a patch on earlier Wolfmother material, but certainly worth listening to.

Next up is “Hot Night”.  A fuzzy and distorted riff that runs throughout is catchy and fun, but I really don’t like the vocal style that Stockdale goes with here, and ultimately it’s those vocals that all but ruin the song.

“Kick Ass” will go down well with live crowds.  It’s got a bouncy and vibrant feel to it, even if the lyrics are a little basic.  “Spanish Rose” features some great guitar licks, and some of Stockdale’s best vocal work since his solo album “Keep Moving”.

With only two tracks to go on this 23 minute album, “Freedom is Mine” is a little too busy.  There’s so much going on in this track, that it sounds messy, and album closer “Special Lady” has a funky beat, and coupled with the distorted guitar, and a unique vocal from Stockdale, it becomes the most interesting and enjoyable song of the album.

All in all, “Rock ‘n’ Roll Baby” is an enjoyable listen.  This likely won’t win the band any new fans, but if you are a fan of Wolfmother, it will be 23 minutes well spent.

7/10

Shayne McGowan.

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