‘Cosmic Egg’ | Wolfmother
Rating: 4/5 stars
For fans of: Radiohead, Led Zeppelin and The Strokes
Tracks to download: ‘Far Away,’ ‘White Feather,’ ‘In the Morning’
“Cosmic Egg” is the best album by Australian band Wolfmother. While it’s true that this is only the group’s second album, this is still saying something. Wolfmothers’ self-titled debut was a hit critically and commercially, going on to win a Grammy and a smorgasbord of other awards. Instead of falling into the far too common “sophomore slump” (Ciara, anyone?), Wolfmother has exceeded expectations and crafted an album that is the epitome of epic music.
The album starts with “California Queen,” a proper headbanger that is more metal-influenced than anything the band has done before. But by the third track, “White Feather,” the hard-rock roots of the band start to come out. The title track is what its name suggests—a musical meteor equipped with a banging hook and a drumline straight from the ’80s—and it is the last song of the first half of the album. The set segues to music that one would call more epic, as opposed to the thumping focus of the previous seven tracks. The synth-laden “Far Away” (sure to be a crossover hit) and “Pilgrim”—which finds the band at its lyrical best—are two of the standout tracks on the album, both evoking aspects of ambient music as lead singer Andrew Stockdale’s voice soars over their gladiatorial choruses. Indeed, this is the sort of epic music that is fit for stadiums and coliseums, and by the last two songs, “Phoenix” and “Violence of the Sun,” the listener has been taken to a new plane of existence—one of lyrical and melodic reverie.
When it was unclear if Wolfmother would even continue as a band (the three-piece lost two members after the first album and became a four-piece, retaining only Stockdale and his dream from the original lineup), it is especially impressive that they could not only stay afloat and keep their sound, but also craft an effort that’s better than their exceptional first. And notice how many song titles refer to great heights: “New Moon Rising,” “10,000 Feet,” “Cosmonaut,” “Phoenix,” “Violence of the Sun.” It’s as Wolfmother thought they was going to fly above the conventions of the current musical scene and defy all space and time. They did.