By at 7:09 PM Monday, October 19th 2009

 

Wolfmother Takes A Big Cosmic Shit

Wolfmother, Reviews

 

In a classic YouTube clip, as Wolfmother performs in the background, Mike Patton interrupts his own interview to suppress the urge to vomit, asking incredulously, “what year are we in?” followed shortly by “are people that stupid? I guess they are.” This, coming from a guy who recorded a 45 minute album consisting entirely of grunts and farts. We’ve used similar analogies to describe shitty ‘experimental’ bands, but seriously, Patton actually laid down 33 tracks of spontaneous mouth noise, with absolutely no musical instruments or even words involved.

Wolfmother

The kicker is that a couple review outlets gave Patton’s album no less than three out of five stars. And one of them gave it the same rating as Wolfmother’s debut, poetically enough. But I digress.

There are a couple of points there: ‘Star’ ratings are basically bullshit of course (we can admit that and use them), and Mike Patton isn’t exactly the most responsible arbiter of taste. But we caught Wolfmother’s live act ourselves, and walked away with a lot of the same thoughts.

After being virtually harassed for months, repeatedly beaten over the head by an assault of press inquiries, reminded that frontman Andrew Stockdale had fired and replaced both of the other members of the three-piece, we took Wolfmother’s sophomore effort Cosmic Egg for a spin.

The album opens with the same old formula- two power chords and hokey rhymes only there because they sound cool. Cosmic Egg is a hodgepodge of blatant Beatles, Zeppelin, and Black Sabbath rip-offs, and California Queen is no exception, with a chorus lifted from Paranoid. I will however give some credit for the track’s fiery outro, featuring one of the better solos on the album, courtesy of newcomer Aidan Nemeth with the help of what I’m willing to bet is a Digitech Whammy pedal.

Get the Flash Player to see the wordTube Media Player.

If there was any hope that Wolfmother had grown as a band, it goes right out the window with lead single New Moon Rising, basically a Spïnal Tap song parodying the usual suspects, circa 1973. White Feather follows, an even more blatant Zeppelin rip-off, followed by Sundial, a Sabbath rip-off… And so Cosmic Egg goes for about 50 minutes too many.

Sissy ballad In The Morning is the Beatles and then it’s Zeppelin, 10,000 Feet is Sabbath and then it’s Zeppelin… It actually features the phrase castles in the sand. You listen to Cosmic Egg and you actually find yourself wondering if maybe they can just rip off someone a little less obvious. They could slip in some Chuck Berry or T. Rex or Cream or Neil Young, and maybe even pass something off as original.

While Wolfmother is diabolically derivative, defenders will be quick to somewhat correctly assert that all music is derivative. Zeppelin themselves shamelessly rehashed American blues. Even Mike Patton’s abominable avant-garde mouth diarrhea was inspired by the work of a Japanese noise band.

However, the problem with Wolfmother, besides the fact that the bands they steal from are the most obvious ones conceivable, is that there’s nothing else going on. Not a single one of any of their songs has anything that speaks to the soul. You can dance to it, you can sing along, you can rock out to it on your air / plastic guitar. If you get all your rock music from whatever radio station your local sports bar plays, or if you were born last week, that’s probably more than enough for you. You’ve got the dime for the dozen. But we don’t have the time.

 
 

Wolfmother

Cosmic Egg

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Released: 26/10/2009
Label: Interscope Records
1. California Queen
2. New Moon Rising
3. White Feather
4. Sundial
5. In The Morning
6. 10,000 Feet
7. Cosmic Egg
8. Far Away
9. Pilgrim
10. In The Castle
11. Phoenix
12. Violence Of The Sun
 

Meanwhile, On The Internet...

 
59 comments
  1. tng/dharma69 says:

    Alrighty. So when I called this bunch “a pale Zeppelin; easy to listen to and largely inoffensive yet, no matter how worthless the Grammys are, I still cannot justify why this band won one” I wasn’t high? I like the plain-speak of this review. I was honestly expecting them to fade away with the breakup; to me it just seemed like the logical thing to do, but ego and aspirations do tend to trump logic.

    • Paul Lenihan says:

      The real travesty in the modern rock world is that nerds who have never picked up an instrument or listened to an album FOR FUN, at a party or with some friends are now writing music blogs. Even sadder, people will actually listen to a snotslinging blogger who goes by the name of “SKWERL” and uses “Shit” in the title of his articles. Graduate from Berklee or Julliard and then you can write a reputable review.

  2. Shane says:

    I actually like the music video. Too bad the music is well… how you described it to be. Waste of a video director.

  3. Mitcheljd says:

    That’s funny that you mention the Mike Patton interview because that interview is what comes to mind every time I hear a Wolfmother song. The songs can be such ripoffs that once you realize it’s not the song you thought you were listening too, you change the station.

  4. zoopster says:

    It’s like a piece of gum. Sure it tastes great at first, but the flavor quickly fades and you realize there’s nothing left but a hunk of rubber. I really liked this band when they first came out, bought the album, listened to it non stop for two weeks, burned it out, and shelved it. The songs sounded good the first couple of times but didn’t have any real staying power. Even the live DVD which I thought was gonna be good ended up being kinda boring. That new song sounds like more of the same. Disappointing turn for a band I had expected more from.

  5. zoopster says:

    They do have a cool logo though, and I kinda like the cover art….

  6. Wolfie says:

    ha! nothing but haters!

  7. zoopster says:

    hahaha hey at least I didn’t say they suck outright. unlike another band whose name I won’t mention lest I’m attacked by fanboys again…….

  8. BC says:

    Sometimes I get tired of listening to Led Zeppelin II for 7,000th time. Therefore, I will enjoy playing the new WolfMother CD. It’s like listening to the Led Zep album I never knew existed. Also, I spent the morning listening to the Fu Manchu CD King of the Road. Now, I rarely hear anyone call them some lame rip-off band – but isn’t every stonerish rock band pretty much doing the same thing? As this article mentions everyone rock band is on some level rehasing what has already been – well, hashed.

  9. “It’s like listening to the Led Zep album I never knew existed.” Jesus Christ.

  10. zoopster says:

    mmmmmmmmmmmm……..hash.

    @ BC: Blasphemy! :)
    No matter “how many more times” (sorry, couldn’t help it)I listen to any of Zep’s albums, they will never get old. No way I can replace them, especially with something like this.
    Also it’s funny you mentioned that it is like listening to “the LedZep album I never knew existed”. I totally felt that same way about the first Wolfmother album, but found after a while it didn’t hold up to repeated listenings.

    Yeah many stoner rock bands rehash elements of classic rock, but usually do it in a way that doesn’t blatantly rip them off, ie.: Kyuss, Fu manchu, Monster Magnet…. some really good stoner rock bands with original ideas. But to make those references and influences so obvious takes something away from the song, especially if it makes you wish for the real thing.

  11. Ghost of John Bonham says:

    They suck. I say so. I am the ghost of John Bonham… now who the fuck are you?

  12. BC says:

    Hey yeah fall back holmes I wasn’t saying Wolfmother is the redux of Houses of the Holy just that it rocks kind of like 70′s tube amp muscle. I mean, the days are long I think we all own 100′s of albums of music in order to pass the time, right? This album could be a lot worse and by worse I mean a lot less rock and roll (ie. see new Kings of Leon – where’d the guitar go?). Some bands you want to change up their styles because the band has the musical ability (see QOTSA) some bands should stick to what they do best (re-do what has been done) see: Monster Magnet, WolfMother etc.

  13. BC says:

    I’m at work and bored (again) so let’s get our debate on! I guess where I get lost on the premise of this article is that WolfMother is somehow more ‘blatant’ than other more lauded rock bands. Really? Let’s review some critically loved bands that are in a word, blatant. The Brian Jonestown Massacre (loved by critics) are so crafty and original they actually named themselves after the original rhythm guitarist (Brian Jones stay with me here people) of the very band they continue to steal from, The Rolling Stones. Kula Shakker (first album loved by critics) steals so fiercely from the Beatles they actually incorporated sitars (yes sitars!) into their music. Fu Manchu, Monster Magnet, Doozer, early QOTSA, have released a collective work that sounds more like Black Sabbath than Black Sabbath even sounded like. That makes sense believe me read it again. Somehow Oasis started out just awesome and then slide into Blatantdom. But Blur continues to get away with it. Jack White has stolen from every blues, country, rock band in the history of music but he is a genius and not blatant. There is a track on the first Rage Against the Machine album that is nearly a note for note do-over from Led Zep’s Kashmir but god for bid those genre busting dude’s would ever be called out for it. I guess I just want to know how one gets elected to the Blatant Deciding Committee.

  14. zoopster says:

    I’m not sure about bands like Brian Jonestown Massacre(which I think is a genius name btw) or Kula Shakker cause I haven’t heard any songs from them past their hits, but I think that the reason Wolfmother gets so much shit is because they never really found an identity. Instantly their were labeled copycat. From the get go it was, “yeah thats the band that sounds like zeppelin/sabbath/cream/hendrix.” Some of those other stoner bands, Kyuss, Qotsa, MM, while borrowing heavily from their predecessors, I guess just hid it a bit better. Plus they wrote killer songs. The aforementioned Fu Manchu King of the Road album for example. Great fucking album. Can you tell these guys listened to Sabbath when they were growing up? yeah. Does it sound exactly like Sabbath? No. Same with Monster Magnet, etc.
    The songs from the first Wolfmother album, while great ear candy, also ultimately lacked the weight of other rock, Rage for example. It was obvious Tom was a huge Jimmy Page freak, but his riffs were original and his energy was unlike anything people had seen before. Not to mention Zach’s vocals.
    Blues musicians have always stolen from each other but that’s inherent in the music.
    While the statement “zep album I never knew existed” may be a bit overblown, considering who you’re comparing them to, I totally understand that kinda feeling. No one was playing anything as faithful to that late 60′s/early 70′s sound when Wolfmother came out, and it was like, “where’d these guys come from?” But ultimately, those songs got old quick.
    Granted, I haven’t heard all of the new stuff and so I can’t judge before I give it a spin. But if it’s anything like the old stuff……….

    QOTSA shouldn’t change a damn thing. Homme knows what he’s doin.

  15. BC says:

    The problem some people have with bands like WolfMother really is rooted in sex. Here it is: the first time we ‘did it’ – sex was exciting! It was new! It felt great! It may have even sounded great. Sort of like the first time we all heard Good Times Bad Times. So when WolfMother tries to duplicate the first time we were (pun coming) turned on by (that was a double pun by the way) music we are really upset that they can not duplicate our first time past experience(s). So when we get older and have ‘done it’ roughly 12,000 times we get a little melancholy towards our long-time girlfriends/wives because we wonder why can’t this be like the first time – in Shelly’s parents basement on a cat-pee stained sofa (and why didn’t she take her socks off)? We don’t actually dislike WolfMother we dislike the fact that they can never reproduce the excitement and realness of our first time love fest with Led Zep. Just like their will never be another first time in that stinky basement.

  16. zoopster says:

    Somehow I don’t think it’s like that at all………..

  17. Matt says:

    Cosmic Egg is brilliant. Your mind was obviously made up before you even listened to the CD.

  18. Justin says:

    I tried the Wolfmother Kool-Aid, but it tasted like shit. But what I want to know is how has Matt above me heard a CD that’s not even out yet? He must have stolen it.

  19. tng/dharma69 says:

    I think it’s common knowledge that most music of the past 25 years or so can, on some level, be considered derivative and that’s fine. Kinda hard to invent new genres or wholly original anything these days(I mean look at the movies that are cranked out; originality & creativity are at a premium). But the fact is that some (Stone Temple Pilots) just do it better than others (Wolfmother). And my ears can make that call because the difference is (as someone referenced) the quality of the songs. Other than Woman and MAYBE Joker & The Thief I have always been hard pressed for anything of Wolfmother’s to stick. Outside of the initial hit, the music becomes forgettable. Whereas STP really made some DAMNED GOOD SONGS even if they sounded like a wannabee lovechild of Nirvana and Pearl Jam. Velvet Revolver…totally disposable and Wolfmother-esque even if they are the creators of the best phone wallpaper I’ve ever had, but I don’t comfuse them with anything musically relevant.

  20. Reeferchief says:

    Who the fuck said QOTSA sound more like Black Sabbath than Black Sabbath???
    I listen to these two bands more than any at the mo and I really dont see the similarity, at all other than that there is guitars, bass, vocals and drums.

    Dude go buy yourself a new pair of ears.

  21. BC says:

    Ozzy has said in several interviews he always wanted Black Sabbath to sound like the Beatles. He achieved that goal in one regard – rock you love but failed in another regard – no one exactly dances to it (which is good). Therefore, every time I think “Gee, I would like to listen to some dark, scary, fuzzed out music” I may put on some good ol’ Black Sabbath. Then I say to myself “Hey wait a second this isn’t what I wanted”. Their self-titled track on their self-titled album really isn’t ‘dark or scary’ it’s a song that really highlights Ozzy’s vocals since they (the vocals) are higher in the mix than the guitars. The same could be said for War Pigs and the really beautiful almost Spanish sounding Planet Caravan. So, then I may go straight for QOTSA’s – God is in the radio (scary), Run Pig Run (disturbing), or Someone’s in the Wolf (unofficial song of Halloween!). This is why QOTSA sound more like Black Sabbath than Black Sabbath does because over the years the idea of Black Sabbath has replaced the actual sound of their songs. And newer bands (Fu Manchu, Clutch, etc.) have actually produced the sounds that we think Black Sabbath did. It’s paradoxical – either way paradoxical is fun to say but even harder to spell which is in fact a paradox.

  22. zoopster says:

    Damn, Velvet Revolver totally disposable? Ouch. I have to respectfully disagree, especially after seeing them live. They put on a damn good show.

    When I want dark, scary music I put on Slayer.

  23. tng/dharma69 says:

    Zoop, I agree they do put on a good show but I’m thinking in terms of the meat of the music, the solid impact. Libertad and Contraband are decent rock albums but VR is basically a haphazard supergroup capable of make decent noise you can thrash to. Other than that, I don’t think the music will be lauded in the annals of great music despite the fact that they, too, have won a coveted Grammy.

  24. Booth says:

    after listening,as usual i agree with antiquiet. Keep up the good work! Im with you skwerl, word for word, its exactly that.

  25. cykills says:

    Cosmic Egg is a riff fest, without the epicness of the first ablum. I find myself trying to like it, but its not going to have the staying power of their (his) first effort. If the band breakup is the difference, then that was a shitty move.

    Be that as it may, its better than alot of shit out there, and please give the ‘blatant rip off’ bullshit a rest. You know how many times youve heard the same riff in different songs? Its a part of fucking music, and life, get the fuck over it. I agree with whomever said this reviewer was a pretentious hater from jump street. Thats his problem. Enjoy it for what it is and rock out.

    Death Magnetic, prophecy revealed

  26. Peter says:

    I think review is too hash, they are ripp-off but album is really good quality, much better than first album and Classic Rock ( one of the best reviews in my opnion) gave it 9 out of 10 and review was not written by Mick Wall but great Mark Hughes. I think considering them rippoff doesn’t mean that they should ger 1 album is worth more. And Matton made some pretty bad music as well. I think you’re a little biased towards some artists …cough.. Wolfmother…cough..cough..Sonic Youth

  27. zoopster says:

    Too hash? There can never be too much hash, man. People need to smoke more hash if anything. Maybe that would make Wolfmother sound better. Wait, I already tried that and it didn’t work………

  28. Peter says:

    o geez whole post about spelling error :) of course I “too harsh” was on my mind.
    And hash is overrated.

  29. zoopster says:

    I know you meant “harsh”…..just bored and pokin’ fun. :) It’s just thought it funny because there was already a mention of hash earlier in the thread…….

    If you think hash is overrated, you need to smoke some better hash.

  30. Joe says:

    Instead of trying so hard to figure out how much this or that band is derivative of another, I believe you should also switch that off sometimes and just listen to a record for what it is. All rock borrows and steals from songs that the band members listened to at some point. Bearing this in mind, what becomes most important is for a band to take and steal from the BEST songs from the past. Then grind it up in their heads and out comes their own interpretation. That’s art. That’s rock&roll at its finest. And this album is simply a great rock record, with huge, lumbering (sometimes galloping) riffs. It also goes into some weird melodic territory because of the elfish voice of Stockdale. Buy the record, drink a beer, and enjoy it.

  31. M Bergy says:

    Seriously….I have gained a new respect for your guy’s website and turning other people on but your narrow mindlessness about this album makes it hard to back you guys up. Is it the best album….no. One star though? Get real. That’s like saying you would rather listen to Weird Al more than this. Take it as it is; a rock album with some decent tunes. 3 stars is worthy. Music fans look to appreciate the goods with the bad. As a rock fan, you can do worse….insert Nickelback.

  32. Kera says:

    Not disappointed with this album at all.

  33. Lungman says:

    Opinions are like arseholes – everybody’s got one!!

  34. ActnMoviHeroBoy says:

    It’s pretty cosmic. Not as good as the first album, but i can’t stand Colossal anymore.
    It’s lots of good shit blended together. Like a smoothie. Smoothies are good.

  35. Paul says:

    “Opinions are like arseholes – everybody’s got one!!”

    …. and most of the time they stink!

  36. Recidivist says:

    Hahaha. Spot on review. To be honest, i never liked Wolfmother at all. I gave the first album a spin, and deleted them from my hard disk after the third song. If i want to listen to a 70s revival band, there are loads out there that are better than Wolfmother. Even the bad ones.

  37. Facemelted09 says:

    This album rocks, coming from a massive zep fan, for christ’s sake they’re not the first band to make retro stuff that you can hear the influences in, look at the Darkness! Although I dont really give a toss about the Beatles, you couldnt pick a better band to sound like than zep. If you dont like Wolfmother rocking out and sounding like they should have come out in the 70′s, then piss off and listen to something groundbreaking like suicide inducing Radiohead or Coldplay!! Rock on!!!

  38. Craig says:

    The author of this review is a Cosmic Shit. Wolfmother is the only contemporary band worth listening to. Why? Because they sound like old stuff: you know, what Rock is supposed to sound like. Not the pussy-soaked emo-shit that passes for rock these days. If you don’t like the ‘Mother then fuck off and go back to listening to your girlfriend’s iPod.

  39. Skwerl says:

    my girlfriend wouldn’t be caught dead with an ipod. also, everyone, look at this guy’s website.

  40. Craig says:

    Skwerl, are you endorsing the Knights? If so then I revoke my Cosmic Shit comment! Maybe your taste in idiotic fan films is better than your taste in Rock! Your woman should own a ‘Pod. They’re great when loaded up with Wolfmother!!!

  41. zoopster says:

    @Craig: Aren’t you guys a little old to be playing with toys? Seriously dude, if no one has told you yet, that is fucking gay. The film’s not even bad enough to be funny. Just sad.

  42. zoopster says:

    Additionally, the “‘Mother”, otherwise known as the Andrew Stockdale Project, can’t even hold Homme’s jock. And that motherfucker, my friend, is the man on the tip of what “passes for Rock these days”. Open your ears.

    May the Force be with You.

  43. frumdahip says:

    I wonder why I spent time reading all the negative shit posted here. Perhaps I was in the mood to just read some uptight people who have nothing better to do then criticize and laugh…perhaps tired from two nights at concerts…whatever. You can tell me Wolfmother sucks but I can tell you that I personally had an awesome time at their Toronto show and the new lineup can really kick it. Mind you….my experience of fun and enjoyment will not be understood by most cause your brain won’t be able to get past your opinions so I will leave it at that and prepare now for the backlash…which I probably won’t read anyway.

  44. zoopster says:

    I wiil give you one thing, there are bands that I thought sucked until I saw them live and they kicked my ass, so you might be right on that one.

  45. Craig says:

    zoopster, thanks for your input you fat fuck. good to see you’re awesome at dishing out dirt on those that put their art on the line. how’s about you go off and do something creative other that sitting on your fat arse jerking off to songs made by shithouse 2-chord homo’s? May the Force jam it up your arse!

  46. zoopster says:

    Nice.

    Methinks the jedi doth protest too much. You are hardly putting your…..umm…. “art” on the line.

    Never seen a Jedi with a paunch til now. Try lookin at your own waistline before throwing out comments about being fat. And who the fuck calls people he’s never seen a fat fuck? Infantile Douche.

    May the Slimfast be with you.

  47. PT says:

    Hmmm…does anyone else remember when Stockdale himself described Wolfmother’s music as a cross between 60s power trios, Zeppelin and Sabbath? I’m pretty sure it was along those lines…So while he probably doesn’t believe that Wolfmother is a complete blatant rip off, he certainly hasn’t denied the huge and direct influence on their sound.

    P.S. How come no one ever mentions the clear Blue Cheer influence? A lot of OutsideInside (Blue Cheer’s second album) sound on both WM albums.

    • Paul Lenihan says:

      haha Zeppelin and Sabbath were not 60s power trios, both their debuts came out in ’69 and they both had 4 members and I never thought Blue Cheer sounded much like Wolfmother, they have a much different sound, allot of dischordent notes (you could tie them to Hendrix there) and slide guitar (you could tie them to Southern Rock there)… I can’t think of any band that sounds like Blue Cheer.

  48. zoopster says:

    Blue Cheer for sure, but that band was a little more raw sounding, not so polished. Got the first album, been meaning to get Outsideinside.

  49. Nikola says:

    Go to hell!

    Nikola

  50. Aleksis says:

    Come on this review is fucking rediculous – every good rock band that has come along in the last 15 years has had the shit bagged out of it for being unoriginal (esp any band not from the US) – and then we wonder why rock music is dead. For a start Wolfmothers vocals aren’t at all like Zepp unless you’re deaf, in fact neither are the rhythms – guitar tone is about the only thing and fuck last time I checked using a particular guitar and amp wasn’t the same as songwriting. Have you listened other than superficially to the album??? Have you actually listed extensively to Sabbath and Zepp??? Are you actually a musician or are you some tone-deaf hack as much of your colleagues seem to be. Keyboards are more similar to Uriah Heep if anything but reviewers are too ignorant to know their music. Perhaps if the fuckwit reviewers in question weren’t so ignorant they would have listened to enough music to know the beatles and stones ‘copied’ their influences as much as modern bands do and hence wouldn’t approach reviews in such a pig-headed manner… My review – Cosmic Egg is a fucking good album by a fucking good band, one of the best in the world at present, it seems Australians are the only ones that aren’t too fucking thick to appreciate good music anymore… And fuck me who mentioned Josh Homme – what a fucking wanker that guy is… If the US produced 15 times the number of great rock bands that Aussie produces (as the population difference would suggest they should) we would be in an amazing age for music – instead they peddle this rediculous crap like Greenday and Nickelback on the rest of the world…

  51. John Mackay says:

    Hey there,

    I don’t think White Feather is a rip off from Led Zepplin at all. However that riff at the beginning was bugging me from the first time i heard and today i realize where I have heard it before. Start me Up by the Rolling Stones.
    I like this album and I bought it cause these days pretty much every band I hear sounds like a band from the 70′s and 80′s even Muse who remind me of Queen.

    Cheers.

  52. Jon S says:

    This album rocks hard… that’s the point of it and it sounds good. Seems like as soon as somebody who is respected (rightfully or otherwise) in the world of music reviewers is having a bad day and decides to slate an album, all the little wannabe sheep reviewers immediately agree? I listen to different music depending on my mood, as I’m sure you all do and this suits my ‘rocking out in the car on the way to fucking work’ moods perfectly, as did their previous album.

  53. Man Carrot Top Can Rock says:

    Love this band. Saw them live with the Killers in Toronto. Turned my girlfriend into a fan after that. Considering they were given a quarter of the stage with a black sheet behind them, they really warmed it up.

    P.S…Good job Aleksis, but Nickelcrap is Canadian. As much bad music comes out of the States, as a Canadian, we HAVE to take credit for this one. Why does the rest of the world know about them and not The Tragically Hip?

  54. Great review. I found it to be totally accurate. Chris and Myles are much better off with Kid Koala/Dynomite D and “The Slew”

  55. Paul Lenihan says:

    If Wolfmother wrote an album that sounds like a mix of Sabbath, Zeppelin and the Beatles… what is wrong with that? It wasnt to the point that it infringed on copyrights… I think if they managed to remind you of some of the best bands in history they are doing a good job. the 70s was the best era in music, thank god they aren’t reminisent of the 2000s (modern music is much worse)… I don’t want to rant too long, but they are one of the best rock bands to come out in the past decade. Best Rock Bands of the 2000s: The White Stripes, Queens of the Stoneage, The Sword, The Libertines, Mastodon, Muse, The Hives, Jet, Jack Johnson, Mars Volta, The Killers, The Strokes, John Mayer,… I’d put wolfmother towards the top.

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