Slick riffs and a raw, gritty recording style kick off this EP from Danish rock band Viva La Wolfe. Truth is an addictively rhythmic piece of blues rock and roll, the meeting of the guitar and vocal melodies is quite inspired here – in some cases this doesn’t work at all, but in this case it adds so much more colour and unexpectedness to an already smooth and lightly energetic release.
The band know how to craft melodies and how to build effective soundscapes around these – it keeps you interested, there’s a constant state of movement at work but there are also these signature elements that quickly make themselves known. The vocal performance too, the way this evolves throughout, climaxing with intensity and character – just before a stunning electric guitar solo guides you towards the outro.
Lakebed follows the opener and introduces a totally different side to Viva La Wolfe. Delicacy emerges, softness and soul, an almost acoustic sound with a less intense vocal performance – this is more of an intimate, melodic whisper, and what a beautiful melody it is. The descending notes reflect the changing emotions within the lyrics, and the gentle nature of the verses creates a stark contrast with the weight and attitude of the hook. Contrast is everything, we only really appreciate the light when it’s been dark for far too long. The band’s lyrics on top of everything are incredibly personal and intriguing here, poetic yet honest, loaded with simple but striking imagery.
Too Late sees the energy smash back up to the sky. Impeccable musicianship presents a high octane leading riff and drum line. The vocal performance shifts its weight back to the more intense and loud, everything seems to explode into life – contrast again paving the way for a satisfying and reliably immersive collection. By the end of the song, the tempo re-adjusts itself, the mood holds back a little – just briefly – and the band underline once again how creatively on point their music can be.
Great musicianship is attainable by practicing, for most; though right here the flawless unity and pace are particularly mesmerising. Great songwriting, however, is more a case of sometimes you get it, sometimes you don’t. What sets this EP apart is that there is something original and colorfully memorable on each and every track. Pillship is a total highlight and brings together all of this – the riffs, the structure, the passion; it’s a mighty piece of rock music, an indie anthem that begs for inclusion on the long term playlist.
Bringing the project to a bold finish is the rather epic and powerful Carried Away. Viva La Wolfe don’t just start playing, they build around you a genuine soundscape of relevant expression. The communication between musical elements is superb, it’s something that marks a definite thread throughout the sound – not the usual vocal trait or a specific production effect. That word creativity comes to mind again. Structurally this song creates an entire short film around you with its varying sections and moments. The guitar work is perfect, simple yet effective, instantly recognisable after even just a single listen. Soon enough, the song’s lyrics start to take hold, sinking in with the emotional depth of something incredibly real and heartfelt. The way the song builds up towards its end is stunning, thoughtfully put together and beautifully performed; a definite final highlight and a great way to go out.
You get a strong sense that Viva La Wolfe are a band we should be seeing across festival stages during the coming months. A live show is a must for those who stumble upon the opportunity. This EP is a brilliant starting point and an easy release to revisit throughout the your week. I look forward to hearing what the future brings from the band.