Usually when I’m given the opportunity to review a new album, I have at least a faint idea of what to expect beforehand. This was not one of those times.

See, I’ve heard about a certain local (PTA) band called Feed The Wolf before – most notably, Ed said something about how much he enjoyed one of their live shows, and what great guys they are – but I never really took the time to see what they were all about. According to their Facebook page, the five-piece band aims to “reignite the sweating soul of Rock and Roll,” and fall into the sleeze rock genre. I was sold right there, but you can follow the above link for more info on the band.

So, armed only with a Facebook bio to guide me, and the most expensive set of headphones I own, I excitedly dove into the band’s self-titled album.

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The album starts off with the intro (obviously), which essentially sounds like someone plugging their instrument into an amp while a carnival carousel and glass wind chimes do battle with robotic wind… Yeah. But after all that weirdness, the next track “The Drowner” starts up, and we’re greeted by melodic guitar riffs, rhythmic drumming, and Donovan Borne’s… unusual vocals. It becomes apparent right from this very first song that Feed The Wolf’s sound is nothing like anything you may have heard in the South African music scene before. Fans of American rockers Clutch, and fellow PTA boys The Black Cat Bones, may notice some similarities here and there, but even those are extremely rare.

The songs “In My Bed,” and “Shiver,” make up my two favourite tracks off the album, and are polar opposites of each other in almost every way. “In My Bed” starts off with a tasty riff that gets the blood pumping, then the rest of the band jumps in to keep the speedy groove going while Borne sings and yelps about a boogie man in his bed. After all that groove, the song “Shiver” starts and instantly takes everything down a notch. It’s slow, melancholic, and simply beautiful. The song also features a moving guitar solo, and what in my opinion is Borne’s smoothest vocal performance throughout the album.

Photo by Henry Engelbrecht

Photo by Henry Engelbrecht

Every song on the album sounds distinctly different from the last, and it would take a lot more than my allocated word limit to even try to go through them all in detail here. But there are a few more tracks that stand out, that deserve a quick mention. “Wetsuit” is all about the raunchy lyrics that would make even the most experienced nun blush. “Burning Bear” has one of the most catchy hooks on the entire album, that just begs to be sung along to. Bedlum Knights” is 50% groove, and 50% blues, and will have your head bobbing uncontrollably.

While there is much to love about Feed The Wolf’s self-titled album, there are also a few things that many might not enjoy as much. The drumming, which still blends well with the rest of the band, often feels a little disjointed. There are times where the drumming feels awkward, and other times where it feels like the drums are being under-utilised. Come on Jako, I know what you’re capable of! 🙂 Donovan Borne’s vocal range is really quite astounding, but it often feels like he’s trying to do a little too much, and the switch from one style to the next between tracks can be a little jarring. While it’s not as apparent throughout the album, there are times where it feels like songs are going nowhere. Build-ups galore, then… waiting for the punch…

To round it off, Feed The Wolf certainly have a unique sound, and have obviously tried to incorporate as many new ideas and styles into their debut album as possible, but it may just have been too much, but that’s just my opinion.

If you’re still reading, be sure to catch their album launch this weekend! Follow this link for more information.

Feed the wolf