Wolf People - Ruins. 2016 England
CD issue: 2016 Jagjaguwar (USA)
It must be the thing to do. What's that you ask? Oh, well if you're a band that had enjoyed recreating the UK styled 1971 proto-prog experience, then you have now moved on to the psychedelic era. Blood Ceremony, Purson, and Syd Arthur all had previously done something similar earlier in the year. The former two went back in time, whereas the latter went forward, but all within the confines of what we constitute as "psychedelia". And for my tastes at least, all 3 of them took a step back in the quality department too.
Not so for Wolf People. Quite simply this is the best post 1968 UK psychedelic album I've heard, even besting Sun Dial's Other Way Out. Of course, no real album from 1968 would sound like this. Ruins represents the ideal of the 1968 Carnaby Street landscape. When listening to this album, you want to see girls in paisley mini dresses, white go-go boots, and stylish hats. And a lot of mascara.
Ruins opens with two blistering tracks in 'Ninth Night' and 'Rhine Sagas'. Only to lead into the album's pièce de résistance 'Night Witch'. I've never heard a song like this before. From a composition perspective, it sounds like one of the more classy NWOBHM bands (think Legend)... as played by Outskirts of Infinity. The song is melodic and memorable, and that which includes two of the most incendiary fuzz guitar breaks we've heard since Many Bright Things covered the Butterfield Blues Band's 'East West'. 'Kingfisher' is the closest Wolf People gets to their prog rock roots, though strangely it may be the album's weakest cut. Starting with 'Thistles' you realize the album will continue its staggering psychedelic quality. All the songs are well-written, not just exercises in guitar fuzz overload and effects. Along with 'Night Witch', the other bonafide monster track here is 'Not Me Sir' which has a slight Middle Eastern tonality. Overall, there's not a weak moment to be found throughout.
If the radio was a still a thing, then Ruins would be what I want to hear on it. Of course we know we wouldn't, but as mentioned prior, Ruins represents the ideal.