One might be forgiven for thinking someone had slipped something psychedelic and time-traveling into your mocha soy latte on first hearing Wolfmother’s debut U.S. album. Hailed as the return of the power trio, the Australian threesome take off where early Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin left off in the 1970s. With heavy power chords and riffing backed by a massive bass and drum attack, the group doesn’t just recall or revive the glories of a past musical era but instead prove that it’s a fresh and bracing sound some three decades later.
Not that the band minds the comparisons. “Things were better in the ’70s,” insists guitarist and singer Andrew Stockdale, even if he’s barely old enough to attest to the fact. His contention is backed not only by their potent musical attack but also a mighty buzz, as well as their song “Love Train” providing the soundtrack for a recent iPod television ad.
Though ostensibly a new group, Stockdale started playing with bandmates Chris Ross (who plays bass and keyboards) and Myles Heskett (drums) in 1999. They spent more than four years playing together for just the sheer fun of it — and also honing their style — before emerging with an Australian EP in 2004 and gigs that sent ripples across Down Under.
By the next year, they had placed a record-breaking six songs on the “Top 100 for 2005” list from Australia’s national Triple J rock radio, as well as earning Triple J’s Australian album of the year award. An EP release in the U.S. at the beginning of this year stoked appetites for Wolfmother’s full CD, produced by David Sardy, whose credits include work with Oasis, Jet and Pavement. The band’s warm stateside reception confirms that they’ve taken something tried and true and made it new and exciting again.