Thank God for The Wolfhounds. I mean, really. British indie remains something that sustains my interest year in, year out, but rarely -- and I mean rarely -- does a band strike at both the heartstrings and the brain. That unique ability to inspire both musically and intellectually is a thing to be cherished and, luckily for us, The Wolfhounds are doing it again on their first new album since 2014 comeback Middle-Aged Freaks.
The C86 legends are set to release their new record, Untied Kingdom (Or How To Come To Terms With Your Culture), tomorrow and it's a splendid and somewhat unsettling examination of British society and the glue that holds things together precariously.
If "Now I'm A Killer" offers pleasures familiar to any fan of this band, "My Legendary Childhood" brings a strange near-ska shuffle to the usual spry gallop of the best Wolfhounds cuts. If things like "Everyday Monsters" shine with some sinister glee lurking under the grooves, then the superb "Stupid Poor" unleashes a rough Krautrock-esque riff in the service of one of this band's best recent releases, and a tune that sounds not entirely unlike one from Moonshake, a spin-off group from this lot so many years ago. "Fire in the Home" slinks by with a certain weird wooziness, while "The Comedians" lures with a big guitar hook that just won't quit. Epic closer "Across the River of Death" recalls stuff like some Mekons cuts, old Joy Division singles, and the very best moments in this band's own back catalog.
Now, given this album's subtitle, it would seem like I've neglected mentioning the lyrics here and what this album is about. And, I reckon that's a tiny bit hard to do since I'm a Yank. And, yeah, when it's the Wolfhounds and the record is called Untied Kingdom (Or How To Come To Terms With Your Culture), it's clear that there's a lot here -- a lot of commentary, really -- on the worst (and better) attributes of British society, of what is expected of an Englishman or Englishwoman. And while my 2 brief stints in the United Kingdom do not give me the insight needed to entirely get all of this one, there's a lot here that I do understand and a lot that David Callahan and crew clearly meant to be universal. And sitting here, on this side of the Atlantic, and suffering a media landscape dominated by a monster like Trump, I can certainly listen to a record like this and feel the weariness with dealing with the very worst of ourselves. It's an ugly time, folks, and we can only console ourselves with the meaning provided by the very best sort of music sometimes. Music just like this here on Untied Kingdom (Or How To Come To Terms With Your Culture) by The Wolfhounds.
Untied Kingdom (Or How To Come To Terms With Your Culture) by The Wolfhounds is out tomorrow. You can purchase it from the Bandcamp link below. Follow The Wolfhounds via the band's official Facebook page.