Whilst rock, and especially punk, can often be characterised as a youthful genre, there’s a lot to be said for a more reflective, mature take on the genre – not necessarily a slowing down, but a drawing from experience, both musical and personal. Bands like Hot Water Music and Small Brown Bike could tap into those simultaneous feelings of youthful energy and mature reflection, making their records feel like they were written by and for adults, and Brittle Bones by Wolves Like Us conjures a similar feeling. Musically, they draw from the aforementioned sources, with hints of the driving rock of Drive Like Jehu, and the emotional honesty of later-day Planes Mistaken For Stars.
Yet despite reading like a wish-list of “bands I wish more records sounded like”, Brittle Bones isn’t an immediately grabbing listen. The choruses might be catchy throughout the whole album, and practically demand to be sung along to, but the song structures are atypically complex and shifting, with few immediate hooks to latch on to. Early plays make it sound a little disjointed, with all its ideas and influences not quite coalescing into the form aimed for; but later spins reveal this to be a case of the record requiring a little familiarity to get he most out of it. For a genre that is often quite immediate, Wolves Like Us have crafted an album of rare depth, that strikes just the right balance between musical and emotional maturity, and raw energy thrills.
Brittle Bones is out now via Pelagic Records and can be purchased here.
Words: Stuart Wain