DICK WOLF!

by DICK WOLF!

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  • Immediate download of 3-track demo in the format of your choice.

     

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about

It’s always difficult to balance technical ability and pop sensibilities for bands who like to dive into the mathy end of the rock ‘n roll spectrum. However, based on their self-titled debut EP, Chicago’s DICK WOLF! seem not not have any problem shifting between the two. While their album is chock full of tapping, warping time changes and eccentric tempos, they still manage to concoct some very bouncy and fun melodies, which makes DICK WOLF! an extremely promising debut.

DICK WOLF!, consisting of Jeff Kelley, Kevin Claxton and Eric Ridder, only formed in 2009, which is surprising seeing how complex their songs can be at times. They utilize all the math rock tricks in the book – dissonance, rapid fire start-stops, intricate dual-guitar lines and etc. But unlike their more well-known mathy peers, like Polvo, who the band seem to emulate at times, they don’t make math rock that’s abrasive and jarring. Rather, DICK WOLF! inject a large dose of melodic indie rock and Sonic Youth-esque swagger into their songs that really calls the listener to attention.

Opener “My Brother’s Phone Is Always Dead” begins with a rampant cat-and-mouse riff that gently drifts under Kelley’s simple yet effective vocals. The warm melodies break down, however, during the track’s mid-section to give way to a more rhythmic ending that revs up the fuzz and jazzy drum work.

“Comfortable Medium” starts with Ridder’s waterfall drum fills as harmonic guitar mischief to fill out the melodic side of things. The song transitions from the sweet dripping harmonics into a more noisy and speed increasing tempo in the middle, which features some fun, head-bob-inducing riffage from both Kelley and Claxton.

But DICK WOLF! seem to reach their full head of steam with the EP’s final and third track “Warbird”. The song’s off-kilter opening guitar lines actually settle into a mean groove, and short explosive non sequitur parts build even more tension throughout. Kelley’s vocals here recall Cedric Bixler Zavala from El Gran Orgo-era At The Drive-In with their energy during the non-instrumentation breaks, and the end subdued jam-out is, no pun intended, such music to the ears that it really makes you wish there was another track coming up next.

Of course, since it’s technically a demo, DICK WOLF!’s EP suffers at times in the production area. Ridder’s drums often sound buried, and that’s something they might want to push up in the mix later for rhythm’s sake seeing how the band is, for the most part, bass-less. The guitars also, at times, meld together when both should pop. But these are all problems that can be easily adjusted.

It’s difficult to catch a full glimpse of a band via a three-song, 15 minute EP, but DICK WOLF! definitely entices with their debut. It’s obvious the band has technical prowess, and it’s something to hear them make a conscious effort to not let that side take over and still stay in the more melodic and accessible side of rock. For the future, the band would seem to really benefit if they recorded something a little rawer and a little more live-sounding. But for the sake of living in the now, DICK WOLF! is a fun and promising debut that is engaging, skillful and fun all at the same time.

via Richard Giraldi at Loud Loop Press
loudlooppress.com/reviews/dick-wolf-dick-wolf/

credits

released April 10, 2010

guitar, vocals, bass : Jeff Kelley
guitar, vocals, bass : Kevin Claxton
drums : Eric Ridder

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Track Name: My Brother's Phone is Always Dead
Phones, my brother says
Aren't (for him) where it is
My brother says

You're just skin and bones, my mother says
Cut your hair and buy new threads
My mother says

Tangled up in integrity
It's all the same to me
Divorce myself from reality
It's all the same to me

Please don't drive in the snow
Pickpockets are everywhere these days
Be careful, you know that there's weather outside
It's not you, it's everyone else

Sit and read, all that shit you see
Sit and kick those legs up
I threw up my hands some time ago
I'll remind you to mind your own
You know dropping eaves is rude

Tangled up in integrity
It's all the same to me
Immerse myself in reality
It's all the same to me

Please don't drive in the snow
Pickpockets are everywhere these days
Be careful, you know that there's weather outside
It's not you, it's everyone else

Phones, my brother says
Aren't (for him) where it is
My brother says

You're just skin and bones, my mother says
Cut your hair and buy new threads
My mother says

The last thing I knew was I was you
Of all the lines and all the spaces

You're just skin and bones, my mother says
And your brother's phone is always dead
Track Name: Warbird
If I'm a war, you're a hummingbird
With battered wings, can you hear my sounds around you?
Are we so blind?

If I'm a heart, I'll be bleeding sound
If you're a head, can you feel my rhythmic pulses beating
In your skull?

Move your hips in conjunct motion
With my teeth and fists and my claws, I'll call you out
(This is our sound)

The kids in their punk rock clothes
Wondering if there's a war on
The kids in their punk rock clothes
Wondering if there's a war on
Celebrating wasted time
Just like you used to say

If I'm a war, you won't know my name
Won't know my face, won't know
You won't hear my sounds at all

If I'm a heart, I'll be bleeding sound
With beats and bass lines heavy
You'll feel my pulse for sure

Won't you move your hips in conjunct motion?
With my teeth and fists and my claws, I'll call you out
(THIS is our sound)

The kids in their punk rock clothes
Wondering if there's a war on
The kids in their punk rock clothes
Wondering if there's a war on
Celebrating wasted time
Just like you used to say