The car park at work is out of bounds this week whilst some workmen play at the entrance. Far from being an inconvenient thing, this forced me to take the train today. When I’ve got so much great, new music to listen to, there is surely no better way to travel. Headphones muting out the sounds of snoring and sniffing passengers, I allowed myself to drift away with the sparse, electronic, cheeky intelligence on offer from Wolf Colony.
‘Unmasked’ is yet to be released but it’s one of the many perks of this blogging hobby that you get sent things in advance. I sense that this debut album, from the New York based Wolf Colony, is one that I’m going to be coming back to a fair bit in 2015. Initial investigations reveal this to be tender yet telling, ambitious but not arrogant, smart and strong.
In other hands, album opener and new single, ‘The One’, could become an exercise in excessive, sentimental mush. Yet, Wolf Colony ensures it stays on the right side of charming. Ultimately, you just want to beam at the inclusive positivity that’s exuding. “I think you are my favourite, I think that you’re the one“, sings the man behind Wolf Colony in relaxed, wispy and lispy fashion over an airy, poppy arrangement. Only a fool would fail to be hooked.
“The One” has a pretty neat, meltingly tender, accompanying video as well which dropped last week. “I wanted the video to be all inclusive and universal. It was a beautiful experience getting to know these couples and seeing how they interact with each other. I’m also a big fan of Humans of New York and that sparked the initial idea of ‘Couples of New York.’” That’s how our man reflects upon his art.
You find yourself wondering about the man behind the mask; for little is known about Wolf Colony and an image of anonymity is cultivated. A wolf mask is worn at live shows and in press shots. There’s enough confidence contained within the lyrics that you suspect this isn’t an image born out of shyness but rather from a desire to not get waylaid by celebrity meandering. This is an artist who recently revealed in interview that his ideal collaboration would be Lady GaGa though so I concede I might have that hopelessly wrong. Clues about identity are littered throughout ‘Unmasked’ and nowhere more tellingly than in the albums longest track, “Fame” (clocking in at just 4 minutes and 16 seconds). “I asked a travelling wiseman how many lies do you think I can pull off, before I’m caught in the act/art, before I am unmasked,” ponders Wolf Colony. “Fame” is yearned for but not at any cost. It’s more important to be comfortable in who you are.
Next week, I’ve got a 4 hour train journey to and from Newcastle to look forward to. I’ll pass much of that time getting further acquainted with ‘Unmasked’. It’s an album that I’m pretty sure I’ll grow to love.