An excellent EP that covers the ground between Jeff Tweedy, Velvet Underground to Tom Waits.
Dave Hollier, also known as King Ropes might be deceiving us a bit with the cover of his newest EP, Green Wolverine. But that might be only on the surface. If you would have expected some gnarling, riff-heavy music or punk speed, King Ropes will certainly not be for you. But if you are a fan of Wilco Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy or the Loaded-era Velvet Underground, this stuff is certainly something you should explore.
Still, getting back to the angry animal showing its fangs on the front, it is something that lurks in the shadows of these four tunes, no matter how ‘gentle’ the sound up front. It might have something to do with the fact that Hollier so far has turned out to be quite a wanderer.
He started out in Bozeman Montana, a place you wouldn’t immediately associate as a bustling musical center. So to forward his musical (and painting) career he took off for Brooklyn, New York, moving to LA. Something obviously didn’t fit, so it was back to Montana.
All that wondering, searching, trying to define what home really is, probably subconsciously borrowing from South African trumpet player and the title of his “Home Is Where The Music Is”, Hollier and the loose group of musicians who among themselves have played with the likes of Willie Nelson, The GooGoo Dolls and Graham Parker, among others, have come up with a set of songs that range from “Dogeared”, that could have easily come out of Jeff Tweedy’s songbook, over “Fold Me Up”, a Velvets sounding trip, through an excellent Will Oldham/Palace Brothers cover of “I am a Cinematographer” to almost second phase Tom Waits sounding “Road to Ruin”.
In essence, something that on paper sounds a bit off-kilter, but Hollier and King Ropes manage to make it sound quite unified. As he put it himself, "I'm interested in the contrasts between urban and rural, eastern and western, sophisticated and raw, sweet and bludgeoning.” And he actually makes it!
Green Wolverine being a relatively brief EP, just makes you do two things, go searching for his Dirt album and wait for the next one to come out to check whether the EP was just a flash in the pan or proof of something more substantial. Hopefully, the latter, Montana or no Montana.