Words by Jimmy Glinster
This will be the second one of these collaboration projects that I’ve reviewed lately. Is this the latest fad that I just haven’t caught up with yet? Who knows, and who really cares, the last one I checked out by Planet of the 8’s was pretty damn rad. Let’s see how this effort by kiwi lads Written By Wolves stands up to the challenge.
EP opener Better Luck Next Time kicks off with a gospel chant, and I’m quickly wondering how this is going to play out. Nek minnut some heavy guitars and drums burst in before I’m smacked in the face with those super clean vocals that usually shit me so much and make me instantly switch off. Not sure if it’s the band’s singer Michael Murphy or guest vocalist Trenton Woodley of Hands Like Houses, but whoever is responsible for it, I’m a little embarrassed to admit that I actually like it. Whoever it is has one hell of a voice on them, and the track itself is pretty damn heavy too, which helps.
Next up is Secrets featuring P.O.D.’s one and only Sonny Sandoval. The track kicks off with some weird kind of Hip-Hop intro with 808’s and a guest shout out. Then we are hit again with some super clean vocals, which sounds like a female vocalist. Maybe there is a second guest, or maybe one of the lads needs to loosen their undies a bit. It drags on a for a while with the hip hop style vibes. Eventually we hear some distorted guitars as the second chorus find its legs, and we are further blessed with a thumping, heavy bridge. The track then loops back around to its Hip-Hop beginnings. Not sure where Sonny fits in on this track, but I’m guessing he is responsible for the main vocals through the Verses and choruses. Who cares though when you can throw in the odd name-drop right?
Our Stories kicks off with a couple of stories. One about some blokes tough job, some sheilas post preggo woes and another chicks life of figurative wall building. And on that note, I should probably get serious now or people will think I’m a cunt, which is probably a well-founded assumption. The track continues with several other stories covering people’s depression, anxiety, pain, abandonment, and suicidal tendencies. This is purely spoken word by real people and strikes very close to the bone at a time where these issues are extremely prevalent. It’s a tough listen full of stories that need to be heard, and I’m glad that these people used this opportunity to get it off their chest, and to lift some weight off their shoulders.
The following track Lucky Stars is much of a slow burner, which I guess it needs to be after such a dark moment on the EP. The track features Sydney Rae White of The Wild Things and is a simple ballad with a spooky synth backing and dual vocal melodies throughout. It doesn’t really progress too much further from where it starts. I guess it’s one of those “it is what it is” moments, a soft and dark one.
Track 5 opens with another story by an unknown person who talks about their story and their life, and the growth involved with loving oneself (get out of the gutter you filthy bastards). A few more stories follow, and I discover that this is another track like Our Stories earlier, but this time more focused on the positive outcomes of having and gaining hope when facing the dark moments in life.
Help Me Through The Night starts with a short piano intro, which is quickly backed by a retro drum machine beat. The song then kicks off into some disco rock before pulling back into a verse with disco claps. This one is very electro sounding and I almost feel like strapping on my roller skates and hitting the rink. A guest female vocalist joins in on the fun as we hit the song’s chorus. Not sure who this is as I haven’t been provided with that info, but apparently Kellin Quinn from Sleeping Like Sirens guests on this track, so maybe his undies are too tight as well? It’s a fun song, not my kind of fun, but it’s very pop rock friendly.
The EP Closer Forever & Always has been described as vocalist Michael Murphy’s favourite track, which also happens to feature his wife Becks on guest vocals. It’s a soft one, a love song in fact. You can hear the pure emotion in both of their voices as they express their love for each other. Not sure any of us needed to hear about it, but good on ‘em anyway, aye.
Well, that was an unusual and dark journey, and I’m not sure how I’m feeling after all that doom and gloom. It’s worth a listen just to experience it, even though it might not be a pleasant experience. Musically it’s good, when there is music that is. When there is not, it’s very dark and may be a little stirring for those who are currently facing the dark side of life themselves.
Proceed with caution after the first two tracks.