Wolf Colonel The Castle

To say that Wolf Colonel's Jason Anderson is prolific would be an understatement - there are tales of how he wrote 250 songs in his first year, or of the 60-song live sets he performed. With such a rate of composition, it is just going to be a matter of time before the band has to release a box set to clear out the backlog. In the meantime, we'll just have to make do with 15 songs a year. There is much about The Castle that is reminiscent of older Guided By Voices (circa Vampire On Titus); it's obvious that they've shared some of the same influences over the years. One of the most unusual similarities is that sometimes a song seems to end before it's run its course. Some of the shortest ones are merely glimpses into what might have been, while there are others that develop over six minutes, very un-GBV-like indeed. That doesn't mean there's nothing else to Wolf Colonel than one GBV comparison after another, it is more than just a handy reference point for us critic types, but the band also retains a lot of their own personality. That translates into some other slightly less obvious comparisons, like Superchunk, when they decide to turn things up a notch, while the quieter acoustic songs are not unlike Big Star's similar moments. When you add to that some tasteful vocal harmonies, it doesn't take long to realise that you could keep listing similarly minded bands for a long time and it quickly becomes redundant. Wolf Colonel writes songs that are unashamedly pop in the catchiest way possible and The Castle is one of those records that creeps up on you and ends up lodged in your psyche for a long, long time. And you'll never begrudge them a single second of it. (K)