The sound of London’s Dead Wolf Club, who release their new EP Healer tomorrow, has a vintage feel to it that comes from being so pertinently, excitingly now. It goes back to times when music was more than just another product in an infinitely downloadable world, when bands with a geeky and subcultural multi-gendered polytech chic shouted lyrics about political economy and social justice while trying to invent strange and beautiful topical sounds. Hell, they even have a Mekons-like boy-girl duet called “Dance to the Conflict” on their LP RAR!
Dead Wolf Club’s music reminds me of a lot of good things from the past, but it manages to create its own distinctive, personal and up-to-date voice. It’s reminiscent of post-hardcore American college bands like The Van Pelt, Versus and Thee More Shallows, who themselves harked back to post-punk pioneers like Mission of Burma, Hüsker Dü, and especially Wire, whose album 154 Dead Wolf Club most remind me of: that combination of drilling, razorblade insistence, fuzzy barbed-wire noise and liquid, ambient poppy bliss, powerfully underpinned by an innate and irresistible drive.
Their main strategy seems to be repetition, which they develop in all kinds of directions, from one-note grating radicalism to dense and engulfing shoegazy highs. The deep and gritty SVT-bass, the strong rhythmic element inspired by the Unwound school of propulsive, spirited and very musical drumming, the guitars that experiment with millions of different textures, the singing that ranges from ethereal through despondent to angry, all conspire to create that destabilizing, exhilarating feeling, when you’re trying to stand upright on your spot while letting the world turn with all its kaleidoscopic, deafening splendour around you.