Review Summary: Out of the frying pan, into the fire.
As a broad generalization, people have always regarded Wolfmother as a band that got consistently worse, as time went on, and more album came out. The general consensus seems to be that their debut album was very very good, and after that; each subsequent release grew progressively worse. That opinion is not a completely incorrect one, and holds a lot of validity, however it may not be nearly correct either. Wolfmother did not change between their albums, on a sonic or lyrical level. It’s simply that their sound spawned a plethora of other bands, and this saturation of the genre caused them to grow more and more stale, in the eyes of the consumer. But when viewed in a vacuum, or at least when ignoring their contemporaries (their influences are hard to deny) their albums have remained incredibly consistent in terms of quality. However, as I hope you’ll soon find, the band did make one album that stood out above the rest. Sadly, it couldn’t have released at a worse time. And of course, I talk about Wolfmother’s second album, “Cosmic Egg.”
Cosmic Egg sees the sound from the band’s debut refined, and improved upon in many ways. Everybody this time around, is considerably more talented, and the band’s vocalist, Andrew Stockdale, seems to have grown much more confident with his voice, and as such; this performances are bursting with an energy that was only found sparingly on their debut. Overall, this is a substantial step up from their self titled. It’s still very much Wolfmother, but it’s an iteration of the band that are much more confident in their abilities. Sadly, the damage done by their first album was done, and Cosmic Egg was swept away in the sea of similar bands, that came into existence because of the massive success of Wolfmother's first album, and as a result; Cosmic Egg, and subsequent Wolfmother albums never really got the praise that they deserved.
The album starts off strong, with “California Queen”, which is home to some admittedly average lyricism, but the rest of this song shines. The verses are brimming with energy, with some simple, albiet effective, and heavily distorted guitar work in the background, in addition to bass that is not only audible, but very well performed. The vocals in these parts of the song are also great, but may be a bit of an acquired taste, as I can confirm that my mother does not like Wolfmother, almost purely as a result of Andrew Stockdale’s vocal style. The song’s chorus isn’t a far cry from the rest of the song, although the tempo slows somewhat, with the drums taking on a slightly heavier style, before the second verse comes in, and builds very well upon the first, with some added lead guitar, as well as a few minor additions. The song is also home to some of the best solos on the album, despite being rather simplistic, and short; it’s rather effective in bringing the song to a close.
The rest of the album follows a similar trend to the first song, with consistently good musicianship, pretty alright lyrics, and a lot of energy. It can feel a little over produced at times, but it’s still easy to appreciate the effort that went into creating these songs. There are a few notable examples of times where the album falls a little flat, such as the lyrics on “New Moon Rising”, which are quite bad, or the entirety of “White Feather” which is just a bad song for the most part.
But there also a number of moments of the album where it truly shines above its peers, and demonstrates what Wolfmother as a band are truly capable of. For example, the song “Sundial” is easily the best song on the album. It’s a slightly slower paced song, but it has genuinely excellent lyrics, a great driving riff, impeccable drumming, and super production. And the addition of some piano, to fill and round out the sound is also very nice. “Sundial” Also happens to have an incredible solo, which again- despite being somewhat simple, is excellent, and with the solo alone, clocking in at almost 45 seconds, there’s a lot of it to enjoy.
A few other highlights of the album would be “10,000” feet, with it’s heavier distortion on both the guitar and bass, and the title track, “Cosmic Egg” which has the best is the best on the album, from an instrumental standpoint.
So overall, this is an album that you should definitely revisit, if you may have overlooked it at one point or another. It’s home to a lot of incredibly solid music, that if nothing else- is at least extremely enjoyable.