An Array of Influences Help Create Their Most Focused Work to Date
Wolf People’s latest album, Ruins, is an escape. It’s one that’s well-timed, considering the impact of this nightmare year on the world. It will speak to anyone frustrated with humankind; the 12 tracks fantasize about a post-apocalyptic utopia where society re-embraces the earth in its more original, more natural form. In doing so, the band has created it’s most direct and compelling work to date.
The LP draws from inspirations scattered across genres, places, and timelines: Zeppelin, Sabbath, psychedelia, rural Bedfordshire, and 18th century Arcadia to deliver songs that will grab your attention upon first listen. Wolf People create a distinct energy that’s exclusive to them by combining their familiar influences with their esoteric ones. The best example in the album is opener “Ninth Night,” lyrically constructed around an 18th-century incantation whispered by burglars and vagabonds. Fuzzy guitars and distorted vocals breathe new life into the invocation. You can hear the prog-rock connections throughout, but there’s no doubt that this song is Wolf People’s and no one else’s. No one else would combine such influences or create such a world.
This stands for the rest of the album. While Wolf People draw from an array of predecessors, at no point does Ruins sound derivative anachronistic. While they’ve learned from their predecessors, these guys look forward, celebrating the positive aspects of today’s society, such as the modern technology they use throughout the album. Ruins views its paradise as fantasized future, not a nostalgic look into the past; the title refers to all that they have come to loathe—greed, ignorance, destruction—as vestiges of civilization wearing away in this new society.
While singer/guitarist Jack Sharp insists that Ruins is not a concept album, various themes and elements bring unity to the LP. The “Kingfisher” track takes its time to build a folksy, bucolic melody before the guitars kick in and later take the wheel as the song drifts into prog-rock territory. The album continues but “Kingfisher” draws us back to the futuristic countryside, forming cohesion throughout the record.
The biggest success of Ruins is Wolf People’s overcoming a weakness: the band’s habit of indulgence. Every element of every song has a purpose. There are no solos or tangents for the sake of them. This renders Ruins a standout—its straightforward and true-to-itself delivery. Consequently, we get a focused album from an increasingly distinguished band.