Review Summary: Going nowhere? Flip that coin.
Hailing from New Bedford, MA and formed in 2007, Wolf Whistle could be considered somewhat of a hardcore super group. Featuring members from Have Heart, xFilesx and the Rival Mob, this certainly sounds like the recipe for some quality hardcore. What you are treated to is 8 whole minutes of blistering hardcore that is over before you even have a moment to realize you have just taken a kick to the face.
Opening track "Numb Face"
begins with bagpipes playing a horribly sloppy rendition of the opening track to Dropkick Murphys' classic Do or Die record. A rather humorous and purposefully anti-climactic intro, this song sets the tone the rest of the record. Most of the lyrics, delivered by Pat Flynn of Have Heart fame, contain a common theme of discussing how miserable of a place New Bedford is. He moves from topics such as the landscape he saw while being laid off from his job on chugging "Thick Brick"
, politics on "Closing in Camelot"
with a main vocal line of "Massachusetts, we want something. We work for ***ing nothing!"
, sleep troubles on hard hitting "Summer Insomnia"
, complete with references to author Ray Carver and the general dread of knowing that leaving one awful place will just result in finding a new awful place to dwell on many of the other tracks. While in Have Heart, Flynn's lyrics typically took a highly poetic and positive stance. Wolf Whistle stands in stark contrast as Flynn's lyrics are far more straightforward and all of the positivity found in Have Heart has been completely turned inside out into rage. Make no mistake, Flynn is not the same man as he was in Have Heart as is quickly apparent by his absolutely desperate sounding and vicious vocal performance.
While standing at a meager 8 minutes, you would think most of the tracks would bleed together. Guitarist Trevor Vaughn and bassist Derek DaSilva, formerly from xFilesx and a Working Man Records employee, begin most of the less than 1 minute tracks with feedback before descending into utter chaos. Musically, the album is very reminiscent of xFilesx and Ceremony with blistering guitarwork and matching bass. Drummer from the Rival Mob, Evan Radigan, holds the band together wonderfully. He brings nothing new to the table but utilizes many styles from blast beats to occasionally slowing down with a heavy plodding beat. "En Attendant Hudon"
is the absolute standout track here. The band slow things down considerably for an immensely crushing song, reminiscent of Still Nothing Moves You
era Ceremony, about missing a friend and committing suicide in his absence, a humorous reference to "Waiting for Godot"
by Samuel Beckett. "MA has a void. VA has us beat. Bring a long strong rope to the woods of Friend's Academy. Paint dries. Grass grows."
On the production side of things, the album is shockingly tight for such a small band. With member Trevor Vaughn handling the mix, the production is absolutely crisp with the guitars cutting like a knife through butter and the bass having one hell of a low end crunch. The production on the drums sounds absolutely killer and every hit is heard beautifully, adding that much more punch. On the vocal side of things, Pat Flynn's lyrics can be incredibly hard to hear and decipher, though he gives one hell of a performance and has a wonderful trade off technique with the backup vocalists.
The albums biggest flaw is its lack of content. Having been five years since their last 7 minute EP and two years since their live album, 8 minutes is just ungodly short for such a long wait. The album doesn't contain any lyrics sheet and the listener is left to pick up what they can. Also missing are the instantly memorable sections found on their demo. They were quick, but perfect for a show setting and it takes several listens to comprehend MA Glory
in full. Oddly enough, the most tragic thing missing from MA Glory
is it's title track, released two years prior on a Triple B comp as a tease of things to come. No explanation was included for this lack of inclusion and it truly is a shame that a band would cut their best written track to date from its own namesake EP.
In the end, you could listen to the bands entire discography in less than 20 minutes. What Wolf Whistle have released here is a solid journey through one man's depression backed with aggression and crushing tones. You have absolutely nothing to lose giving 8 minutes to listen to it in its entirety if you are a fan of hardcore and power violence akin to xFilesx. With a full length on the horizon, hopefully this EP is just a glimpse of things to come from the collective minds of some of hardcore's greats. "Thank you. Signing off, goodnight."
- "Small State Blues".