Dying Scene Album Review: Wolves & Wolves & Wolves & Wolves – “cursecursecurse”

How can anyone truly believe the statement “rock music is dead,” especially after all of the music that has been released within the past decade. Music is continuously evolving, despite the criticism and really at no surprise to the people who are most passionate about it. Take a close look at the genre of punk rock.

Arguably one of the most diverse genres of music out there, punk rock has also evolved into something more meaningful and emotional than the original ideas of “going against the establishment” or “teenage angst.” Although those ideas still can be found within punk, the music has taken on a completely different attitude through new bands and new sub genres.

Growing up in the late ’90s and early 2000s, I was introduced to skate punk and ska and pop punk. Bands like Green Day, MxPx, Blink 182, Goldfinger, Less Than Jake, New Found Glory, The Offspring and NOFX is what I knew as punk rock. Little did I know that there was so much more out there and that in the years to come the genre would evolve. It wasn’t until college that I discovered bands like AFI, Silverstein, Alkaline Trio, Hot Water Music, Taking Back Sunday, and legends The Bouncing Souls. These bands weren’t just punk bands, they had a different style and sound to them. They would start the evolving of punk into more than just a skate punk or pop punk sound.

While I could potentially write on and on about the further sub genres punk has evolved into over the years, I don’t want to steer this ship around the entire world in one album review. I mentioned the band Hot Water Music in the previous paragraph, let’s take a closer look at their impact on punk rock and the influence they have had on a lot of the bands I listen to today. Hot Water Music is known for their raw and gritty vocals, chugging guitar riffs and catchy but compelling songs that leave the listener feeling something special. I think this band and their sound helped punk develop into post-punk and alternative rock in some aspects. My opinion of course is subjective, and I’m sure there are a lot of other bands who have taken this same path, but HWM was the first band that I listened to that exposed me to this kind of punk rock.

It is now 2023. I am 40 years old. While I do still enjoy the punk I grew up listening to, I also have an admiration, respect and passion for other bands that likely are in the same sub genre as Hot Water Music. One such band is wolves & wolves & wolves & wolves. This is a band I actually discovered thanks to the wonderful music sharing website called Bandcamp (which I think is one of the Internet’s greatest creations). While wolves & wolves & wolves & wolves probably was influenced by and shares some of the same fans as Hot Water Music, they have carved their own path through hard work and dedication and making a name for themselves through their live shows. The Winston Salem, North Carolina based post-punk act has released two full length albums over the course of the past nine years.

“The Cross and the Switchblade” is the title of the band’s second album, which was released from Wiretap Records in 2016. That’s the album that hooked me on these guys. So much energy, emotion, and captivation in ten songs that I knew this band was going to leave a positive mark on my life. So much so that I’ve listened to the record with a good friend countless times and we couldn’t believe what we were hearing. Naturally, when I found out a new album was coming, I jumped at the opportunity to give it a review.

The third full length album by wolves & wolves & wolves & wolves, “cursecursecurse,” will be released Friday April 7 through the label A-F Records here in the United States, and through Gunner Records in Europe. I did have a chance to speak to Brian Woodall, the voice and songwriter of the band and it seems the album title is fitting after hearing about the process of making the album. “The recording took a while. We started tracking drums Summer of 2018 before we went on our last European tour,” states Woodall, who went into some detail about the band’s struggles between 2018 and 2019. “Then Covid happened. If it hadn’t, Wolves x4 probably would have broken up, but it gave me some time to reflect and find the love for music that started to dull. I ended up finishing the recording in 2021 at the Sandwich Shoppe in Oxford, N.C,” this quote from Woodall gave me goosebumps. Dedication. Determination. We have a brand new wolves & wolves & wolves & wolves album.

You can hear the effort that was put into “cursecursecurse” in the track “Oh, Catalonia,” a three minute and twenty-seven second ode to overcoming adversity and a fist pumping ripper of a track that will leave you smiling from ear to ear after every listen. Is it my favorite track on the album? Damn, that’s a tough question. It’s a tough question because the entire album, comprised of 9 songs, is absolutely something special and will probably wear the needle on my turntable out when I get the vinyl. Another standout track “Excommunicate Me” is full of high energy and raw vocals. The song blares as an exclamation from singer Brian Woodall, and once it’s over you’ll want to play it again. Don’t sleep on “Empires,” this is the anthem for those of you who are ready to get past all this bullshit we’ve gone through over the past three years. I have to mention the opening track, “Hey Run Away” because not very often does the first song set the tone for the rest of the album and leave such an impact that you can’t wait to hear what’s next. The vocals, slamming guitars and that unforgettable chorus, this is where “cursecursecurse” shines and will be on everyone’s best albums of 2023 list. Folks, it’s only April and we have been gifted with some fantastic music. Order a copy of the vinyl from A-F Records here. Your record player will thank you for it.

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