It's been four years since the first fine long-player from Zefur Wolves, and I'm happy to report that album number two, Truth Is In The Stars, out tomorrow on Strangetown Records, is an even better record. I suppose the presence of Super Furry Animals keyboard wiz Cian Ciaran here should make that a foregone conclusion, but this second release from the Wolves sees singer Estelle Ios really take center-stage this time around, with wonderful things resulting from that.
While the opening title cut suggests a debt owed to Nineties-era Jesus and Mary Chain, maybe, the ebullient lead single "Flying High" is hands down the best thing this group has released to date. A soaring slice of dream-pop that suggests a catchier version of what Beach House routinely puts out, this is one fantastic track. Elsewhere, "Letting Go" and "Contact High" find Ios positively cooing over production (by Ciaran) that could be called both lush and complicated. There's something Spector-ish going on here, sure, but there's also a lot that suggests later Spiritualized sides, even if Ciaran and Ios and crew imbue this stuff with a good deal more sunshine than old Jason Pierce sometimes did his.
Frankly, there's lots here on Truth Is In The Stars to make a casual listener think that this was something from a new band from the West Coast of America, and the presence of the light "Sunset in Mendocino" furthers that idea. A tribute to the late Native American activist and artist John Trudell ("Stars of Omaha") is another nod to these shores on this record. And to acknowledge that American vibe here is to suggest that Cian Ciaran, always a fan of the Beach Boys when in the Furries, has found a way to bridge the psychedelic tendencies of his home band with an appreciation of the big hooks that fueled the kind of tunes we used to have on album rock radio here in the States. The music of Zefur Wolves is sublime and catchy all at once, keyboard washes and Estelle's purring vocals making this record a wonderful listening experience, and the sort of thing that fans of Beach House, Slowdive, and Mazzy Star should love.
Truth Is In The Stars is out tomorrow via Strangetown Records.
More details on Zefur Wolves via the band's official Facebook page.
[Photo: Uncredited group shot from the band's Instagram page]