It seems like all bands go through a few basic stages of their careers. There’s the early stage, usually before they make it big, where their entire repertoire is filled with covers of their favourite songs, and songs very much inspired by the songs they’ve covered. Then they hit on something reasonably original and run with it, which it what will get them really noticed. Then in the later stages, they run out of original ideas, and end up repeating what they’ve done before, or go back to the early stage of riffing on other bands’ ideas.
With Wolfmother’s first album, they didn’t seem to need to any further than the first stage to get noticed. They didn’t do anything particularly interesting with it, but they did what they did do very well. They sounded like teenage boys messing about in a garage, working out how they could rip off classic rock gods such as Led Zeppelin, Jethro Tull, and most notably, fellow Australians AC/DC. But you didn’t mind, because it was all done with a sense of fun, almost ironically, and rather than feeling unoriginal, it felt like a massive tribute to the work of rock gods of yesteryear.
Sadly, Cosmic Egg just doesn’t feel the same. Wolfmother have moved out of the first stage of being a band that they fit in so comfortably. But in doing this, they’ve missed the second stage originality completely and gone straight to the slight staleness of stage three, obviously trying to recapture what they had with their self-titled debut release. I don’t want to be too harsh though; Cosmic Egg has been (to use a reviewer cliché) a difficult second album for the band. Two of the three original members left the band, leaving only the lead singer. This may actually explain for the lack of ideas, or at very least where the new inspiration came from for Cosmic Egg.
Here’s the thing, where their fist album reeked of classic rock, this one actually seems to borrow heavily from grunge rockers Audioslave. Oh, the Wolfmother sound is still there, and there are still nods to some classic bands like The Rolling Stones and again Led Zeppelin, but they no longer are the only influence. Distorted Bass leads the charge on this impression, but it’s also a case of the vocal styling on a lot of the songs. At times vocalist Stockdale drops his classic rock wail, and takes on more of a grunge sensibility, which just seems out of place with the Wolfmother image.
Cosmic Egg is a pretty average album. It’s not bad by any stretch of the word, but you feel it has shown you all it’s got by track 5, and the rest of it just feels dull and not as worth your time. If you are a Wolfmother fan, you should still enjoy it, just don’t expect it to have the same youthful exuberance as their first album did. Sadly, these mediums of the rock world seem to have chosen the wrong bands to channel this time.
New Moon Rising