Wolf Eyes — Undertow (2017, Lower Floor)
Listen [“Undertow” from the band’s Soundcloud]
The latest from the mighty Wolf Eyes, released on their own Lower Floor imprint, Undertow sees the trio continue down the direction alluded to on 2015’s I Am A Problem: Mind in Pieces. The opening title-track, is part zen ball-breaker, part showdown at the OK Coral soundtrack. Nate Young’s introspective lyrics and sulky delivery recalls Henry Rollins on Black Flag’s “Armageddon Man.” “Laughing Tides” is heavy on tape saturated flutes and comes off sounding as if Morricone trying his hand at industrial music. “Texas” is a nauseating affair, with whinging reeds, thudding percussion, and bad vibes — an apt sonic representation of the American state. “Empty Island” winds up sounding like some long-lost Neu! recordings, forever ditched in Michael Rother’s spare closet: deep, leaden bass, creamy wah’d out guitar passages, and the occasional horn bit. This extended play is short and sweet, clocking in at 14 minutes and is over before it really gets cooking. Just the same, it’s nice to see the group move in a new direction, favoring their eccentricity and weirdness over sheer volume and abrasiveness. Fans of I Am A Problem... will dig this one and it bodes well for their forthcoming release, Strange Days II, due out in August.