With first single Mercury an impressive, thickly flavoured appetiser a few months back, anticipation for the Juggling Wolves debut album has been eagerly building as the weeks passed by. The song was a potent and fascinating encounter, its potential and tapestry of sound and emotion alone enough to awaken a keen appetite, but now in hindsight it was only a mere whiff of the majesty that is Juggling Wolves the album.
Every track upon the album is an immersive exploration, a kaleidoscope of invention and fluid evolution of sound which takes ears and thoughts on a transfixing melodic flight. The band cast a sonic narrative which can be described as progressive rock and pop, but there is wonderfully no exact label to be put upon music and album just a long list of hinting references and whispers as colours to describe the albums unique exploits. Consisting of Jimmy Deface from folk/blues rockers Rufus Coates & the Blackened Trees and Johno Leader of acoustic indie rock band The Radioactive Grandma, Juggling Wolves has spent the past two years working on their first album, creating and recording it at their own studio in Co Cavan. Mastered by Fergal Davis, the release is now having its dawning with the deserved broadest spotlight hopefully beckoning.
From its first breath, opener Deadmans Strings is crooning and potently serenading the senses and imagination, a lone guitar amidst an embrace of keys a potent texture for the instantly magnetic vocals. It is a riveting start, a gentle invitation which is soon erupting with an appealing dark bassline and crisp rhythms. Bolting on a vivacious rock ‘n’ roll adventure, the track proceeds to twists and flirt with various textures and swathes of invention, harmonies as bewitching as the sparkling melodies and muscular energy as compelling as the unpredictable imagination of the encounter.
From a head start the album only gains in temptation and captivation as Mercury steps up next. Radiance smothers ears from a distant entrance, swiftly consuming ears with harmonies and a tangy tease of guitar. Almost from its first second there is a drama to the track, a theatre to its chords and cinematic air to the vocal and emotional investigation. As agitated beats and dark bass tempting joins its melancholic yet fiery heart, the song ebbs and flows like the sea, its intensity lapping the beaches of ears and thoughts with relentless but intermittent tenacity. As in all songs though, any moment is just a character in a broader waltz of sonically poetic enterprise and melodically fuelled invention.
Tow pushes things up another level again, the engrossing proposition basking in a Faith No More like ingenuity and drama with flights of spellbinding progressive flirtation adding intriguing and mesmeric hues. Grooves and rhythms provide a sturdy almost imposing edge and core to the song throughout, the offering a merger of light and shadows which is almost sinister in its transfixing elegance and charm before following instrumental One Trick Pony brings its almost portentous melodic haunting to ears and psyche. A sombre track which sparks new thoughts and discoveries with every fresh listen, it leads the listener towards the outstanding Daze Unknown. The track’s warped twang of a start is an immediate seduction, a glorious discord kissed bait which evolves into a spicy web of guitar and vocals within a slightly deranged ethereal haze. It is soon spreading its dramatic narrative and musical croon across the imagination with bordering on unhinged guitar endeavour contrasting and complimenting the warm breeze of keys and harmonies. Intimate yet also spatial in its presence, the song is sonic magnetism, bringing a craft and bold inventiveness which rests potently alongside that of musician John Bassett and especially his band KingBathmat.
Through the fascinating realm of Lonely Gold, a track sharing melodic elegance and reassuring calm with a darker, emotionally distraught sonic discovery, and the immersive hug of Wither, Juggling Wolves simply entrance ears and emotions. The first of the two is a startling dive into the unknown and quite invigorating whilst its successor sultrily smoulders as it expels emotionally evocative and vocally provocative beauty which recalls singer songwriter Colin Vearncombe, especially in his Black guise; a comparison which can also be applied to How to Salvage a Failing Butterfly, though across its numerous aspects and ingenious turns, the song defies everything apart from inescapable attention. Though may be not our favourite as magnificent as it is, the track has to be the pinnacle of the album with its climatic structures and busy but relaxed twists. A melodic emprise to soundtrack any emotional and intimate adventure, the song is simply sublime, just as the album to be honest.
The closing instrumental Terms & Conditions makes the perfect epilogue to the album, a luminousness weave of evocative sound and emotive intrigue capping off an increasingly impacting proposition. Hopes were high, and may be expectations too, of the Juggling Wolves album but it left those looking meagre within mere minutes of its exhilarating presence. This is a band creating musical alchemy and their album their first creative hex on the passions.
Juggling Wolves is available now via iTunes and all other digital outlets and @ https://jugglingwolves.bandcamp.com/
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