red lights


Strong early samplings from
two young rock upstarts

The Films - The Films EP
(Filter U.S. Recordings)
3 1/2 stars (out of 5 stars)
Reviewed: Feb. 7, 2006

Wolfmother - Dimensions EP
(Modular Recordings)
4 stars (out of 5 stars)
Reviewed: Feb. 7, 2006
The Films

Review by Tony Bonyata

While I normally don't review debut EPs (those three-to six song sampler CDs manufactured to preview what a band has up their sleeve for their proper full-length release), there's been such an influx of strong debut teasers that've passed my desk lately that I felt compelled to comment on a couple of the more interesting new emerging talents - The Films and Wolfmother.

Although stylistically night and day from each other, both bands bring not only a sense of urgency to the rock world, but also a feeling that there's something special bubbling up from the undercurrent of music today - a phenomenon that came to a head last week when the new U.K. band Arctic Monkeys sold an astonishing 120,000 copies of their debut the day it was released, making it the fastest-selling debut album in recorded chart history. While neither The Films or Wolfmother bring anything shockingly new - instrumentation-wise - to the table (guitar, bass, drums and a bit of keys), these fresh, new faces have, nonetheless, managed to serve up two small platters with double helpings of attitude, talent and, oh yeah, some darn fine songs.

WolfmotherOn The Films' self-titled three-song EP, the quartet deliver a refreshing blend of modern, guitar-driven indie-rock with the pop sensibilities of '60s British Invasion bands. "That Kind Of Day" comes out swinging with great vocals, scrappy guitar and an indelible pop chorus that's hard to shake. While comparisons are sure to be made to The Strokes on the peppy "Black Shoes," the closing number "Come On" also infuses the song-craft of Lennon-McCartney, which finds the band taking what they've learned from Pop Music's textbook and adding a new addendum to it.

Wolfmother is a different animal altogether. From the jarring, impassioned howl that opens the primordial garage-metal of "Dimension," it's apparent that this stripped-down Sydney, Australia-based trio is more interested in both the sludge of Black Sabbath and sonic mayhem of The MC5 than the pop niceties of The Beatles or Kinks. But instead of pigeon-holing themselves as an updated version of Black Sabbath, the three songs that follow offer a broader view of this engaging band. "Mind's Eye," which finds vocalist and guitarist Andrew Stockdale's pipes with not only a similar longing of Radiohead's Thom Yorke but also the angst of At The Drive-In / Mars Volta's Cedric Bixler, is steeped in heavy prog-rock. Bassist Chris Ross also adds an eerie 19th century organ flourishing to the number sounding as if could've been lifted from Genesis' 1972 Foxtrot album. "Love Train" finds Stockdale's voice warbling in a similar fashion to The White Stripes' Jack White over a heavy slab of garage rock slammed into first gear, while the hypnotic instrumental number "The Earth's Rotation Around The Sun" again shows the band's interest in the heavier side of '70s prog-rock.

Despite the fact that it's all been said before in some fashion or another, both The Films and Wolfmother, along with a wealth of other great new acts, are helping to usher in a refreshing new sea change in the rock world.

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