It's been three years since Wolfmother put out their stellar debut album. Some haven't taken notice. Some wondered if Wolfmother were just flash-in-the-pan classic rock shucksters who were riding the retro garage throwback wave which as we all know came crashing down in late '07 (shortly before reports, still speculatory at that point of the fragility of our economy started to seep through). Rumors would run rampant. Had they broken up? I heard somewhere down the electric grapevine they were involved in a grisly tour bus crash. And a plane crash. Of course, none of these things are true, and Wolfmother come back assertive and more focused on Cosmic Egg, though this is an easy enough feat when traversing familiar territory. Solid hard rock album? Oh yeah. Led Zeppelin/Black Sabbath revivalists? Sure. Possibly the next great Stadium Rock act? It's sure startin' to sound that way, kids.
Cosmic Egg starts off with the sonic blitz, "California Queen". The quick tempo and steady and heavy drumbeat never let up and make sure to grab your attention. Even if you're not a big Wolfmother fan, you're sure to find yourself shocked to see you tapping your feet or pumping your fat little fist. It's definitely a promising start to the album and prove thus far that Wolfmother are gonna stay the course set by their first LP. Anthemic and primed for radio play, the next song "New Moon Rising" doesn't disappoint and sheds light down an avenue of rock and roll traversed by other legendary stadium rock bands such as Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, and Stone Temple Pilots. It becomes quickly evident that Wolfmother know what their good at, have a formula, and are sticking to it. Folks, let's be clear now: you ain't gonna be hearing any new fangled experimenting or masturbatory analytical guitar work here. But that's not why you listen to Wolfmother, is it? The only shame is that the big bombastic songs are so good, it makes the less impressive and mid-tempoed "White Feather" and "In The Morning" sound dull and unimpressive. These songs are easily forgettable and sound more like filler than anything else, relying mostly on a half-hearted vocal melody and Houses Of The Holy era guitar work. If Wolfmother were attempting to write their "Rain Song" or "The Ocean", the effort was hackneyed and unimagined. Veering off into slightly different and sludgier territory, "In The Castle" and "10,000 Feet" follow the Black Sabbath/Soundgarden riffbook to a T. At this point it's clear they have no intention of developing a new sound or if they are, just can't seem to get away from the Stadium Rock Rubric. Though by the end of the album, they sound like the stopped listening to Led Zeppelin and decided to picked up Masters Of Reality along the way, the album remains mostly consistent and has no real surprises to offer, nothing unexpected around the corner. The closer, "Violence Of The Sun" resets the pace and clocks in at just over six minutes, the longest song on the album. Considering that most of the songs averaged at about three and a half minutes and is slow to get the point, it tries your patience being the final song on the album. By the time the hit the chorus nearly three minutes in, you may have lost interest, which is a shame since this song sounds more like their own than any other on the album. Atmospheric, thick, and heavy, it's a fitting if not pedantic closer.
Fans of stadium rock will not be disappointed by this album. In it's entirety it plays well, is paced predictably if not consistently and surely sounds great live. Those of you expecting a touch of experimentation, a bit more creativity, a little less derived musicianship, turn right the fuck around and pick up "10,000 Days", or the last masturbatory piece of garbage The Mars Volta are trying to tell you is an album an not their collective spurt dedicated to disc. In these low and trying times, that type of pedantic shit takes up too much space and wastes too much time. Unimagined, yes, derivative yes. But fuck if this album ain't fun, which is exactly what I expected. Whether you agree or not, that's the point and it always has been. Wolfmother break no ground, set no new rules or antes, traverse no new avenues. But they never attempted or pretend to. If The Mars Volta are to this generation what Pink Floyd was 30 years ago, then we've found our Led Zeppelin, our Deep Purple, our Bad Company. In a time where experimental and creativity are lauded by the indie music hordes, even when they fail miserably,Cosmic Egg is refreshing and familiar territory. Break this one open, kids, and bask in the Cosmic Egg. You'll be glad to know you've seen and heard what's inside before.