November 5, 2009

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Wolfmother, Cosmic Egg
Interscope Records, Oct. 26

Take heart, jealous young skinny guys with good hair and no girlfriend. Wolfmother will get theirs, maybe not now, but look at what fate dealt the a handful of similar sort-of-cutting-edge hard-rockers who ever dared summon the ghost of Zep whilst faking at listening to the required dosage of college rock of the day: The Cult hated each other’s guts and blew up onstage, The Darkness couldn’t have picked a worse time to pull their dreadful little stunt, and poor Living Colour, who visited NH’s Tupelo Hall recently, just couldn’t buy a break. For now, yeah, these guys have it all: a horrible economy for everyone but the banking class, which will inevitably lead to a surge of ’70s-metal-like whatchamacallits (Motley Crue owe Newt Gingrich half their royalties); a vague disgust with the artistic status quo on the part of the current generation; and — jackpot, payday — millions and millions of baby boomers ready to jump the bones of anything “new” that they can almost-honestly say they “like.” Not that they’re a terrible band — the axle-greased Deep Purple-vs- Soundgarden kickoff here, “California Queen,” would have been a winner in any year, and there are Master of Reality-like bends of the Marshall amp in “New Moon Rising.” And there are dogs, Whitesnake-ish messes that make you remember how the Cult went sour (“White Feather”), but in the end the weaker bits are offset by enough tough-guy riff-rock (“In the Morning”) to prevent Wolfmother from seeming like complete slut-morons. Some guitar solos aboard, but I do get the sense that the record label guy had a nervous spasm anytime things got too spontaneous. B+
— Eric W. Saeger