Album of the Week 24-2012: DeWolff – IV

It’s almost impossible to point out how impressive DeWolff’s mixture of mid-sixties Bluesrock, late sixties Psychedelia and early seventies Hard Rock is without referring to their young age. Four amazing releases and the three amazing Dutch musicians are still barely in their twenties – in fact, drummer Luka van de Poel has yet to reach his twenties. And there’s hardly any band doing it better, by not focusing solely on either of the genres they’re covering. In deed, on ‘IV’, DeWolff still plays a tasteful cocktail of The Doors, Deep Purple, Zappa, Pink Floyd and latter day Beatles.

Despite the massive sound on ‘IV’, there’s still only three guys doing this. The band’s power lies in the fact that neither Robin Piso’s vintage keyboards, neither Pablo van de Poel’s guitar and vocals, neither Luka van de Poel’s drums are a dominant factor in the music. They all work together to create an irresistable sound that sounds authentically old school. If someone had told me – prior to knowing the band of course – that this was truly something released sometime between 1967 and 1971, I would have bought it.

On the aptly titled ‘IV’, the band seems to have opted for a slightly lighter and looser sound than on its relatively dark predecessor ‘Orchards/Lupine’, but the overall sound is still undeniably DeWolff. There’s the Hammond-heavy Rocker ‘Crumbling Heart’, which is slightly reminiscent of ‘Gold And Seaweed’ from the debut EP, the band’s trademark misguidingly light-hearted sounding songs like ‘Devil’s Due’ and opening track ‘Voodoo Mademoiselle’ and the Doors-like, Psych-Bluesy slowburner ‘Six Holes & A Ghost’. One of the album’s highlights is ‘The Only Thornless Rose’, a strong psychedelic number with a sense of mystery in its sound, carried by Pablo van de Poel’s awesome riffs and some strong work on mellotron and Hammond by Piso.

But the true treat of ‘IV’ are the last 5 tracks that form the B-side of the album – let’s face it, you need to hear an album like this on vinyl – collectively called ‘A Mind Slip’. This 20-minute Psych-fest is the perfect conclusion to this record. The overture of ‘Devil On A Wire/The Telephone’ is slightly orchestral, going into the dark, Zappa-esque ‘Black Hole Raga’, continuing that fashion into ‘Sixth Dimension Blues/The Telephone Pt. II’, with a transition that is almost soundtrack-like, much like the following ‘Astral Awareness’ – as if that title wasn’t pretty self-explanatory already – concluding in subdued Rocking with ‘Vicious Times’, which spots brilliant solos by both Van de Poel brothers. The string section present in the entire multi-part suite adds a whole new dimension to DeWolff’s sound. It’s a simply brilliant batch of songs. The only downside is that I fear this is going to push the utterly brilliant ‘The Thrills That Come Along With The Landing Of A Flying Saucer’ off the regular DeWolff set.

If, by any chance, you like music from the late sixties and early seventies – and I don’t see why not, because that was the beginning of the best decade in musical history – you need to hear DeWolff. And if you love the band like I do already, you can blindly purchase ‘IV’. As with every album, the band tries their hand at a new direction without sounding radically different and therefore succeeds at moving forward without alienating their audience. Many artists twice or even three times the age of DeWolff’s members should watch and learn.

Recommended tracks: ‘The Only Thornless Rose’, ‘Six Holes & A Ghost’, ‘Black Hole Raga’, ‘Crumbling Heart’

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