Independent Clauses | n. —unusual words about underappreciated music

Among Wolves- Among Wolves

November 1, 2007

Among Wolves- Among Wolves
http://www.myspace.com/amongwolves
The Beechfields (http://www.thebeechfields.com)
Wonderfully accessible, yet innovative, alt-country songwriting that hardly fits into a genre

Among Wolves’ self-titled album is an impressive blend of the experimental and the accessible. The group combines these elements with an ease and grace that creates a really enjoyable listen. Influences are as wide-ranging as Wilco, The Flaming Lips, Death Cab for Cutie and The Beach Boys. Among Wolves, however, have a sound that is all their own.
As the album opens, it is clear right away from the psychedelic “Sleep and Dream” that the band is far from ordinary, with its slow, dreamy synths and distortion. Following this is the fun tune “Black Eyed Susan,” that shows how Among Wolves could fit the category of alt-country. The hand claps and harmonies, along with a great piano part, make this song one of the most memorable on Among Wolves.
An admirable element of the album is the involvement of all members in different ways. The foursome can all sing (very well, too) and each plays a variety of instruments, from the average guitar, bass, drums, and piano, to the unusual use of lap steel, harp, banjo, bowed upright bass, violin, and toy xylophone. The extensive instrumentation and vocal diversity keep the album fresh and interesting throughout. There is never a dull moment.
“Bottle” is another standout track. This short and sweet, up-tempo jingle infuses the album with energy, after the slower tracks that precede it. The bright-sounding organ gives a happy feel to a song that includes the dark lyric: “if you’re looking for me, I’ll be at the bottom of a bottle.” In the next track “Seems to Me”, the banjo plays an important role, as it really makes the chorus stand out.
With a clear Beach Boys influence in “Baltimore,” Among Wolves give a shout-out to their hometown in Maryland, with a hauntingly pretty ending on the keyboard. It flows nicely into the methodically-paced “Love pt. 7,” that blends banjo, mandolin, and violin, amid other unique sounds. Among Wolves ends with “Winter Days,” leaving the listener entirely satisfied. This album has a completeness to it that makes it enjoyable to listen to again and again, and it is highly recommended.

Megan Morgan
megan@independentclauses.com

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Stephen Carradini and friends write reviews of bands that are trying to make the next step in their careers.

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