Wolf & Cub Vessels

Wolf & Cub Vessels
As if there weren’t enough bands incorporating "Wolf” into their name, Wolf & Cub (currently touring, incidentally, with fellow Aussies Wolfmother) are nonetheless throwing themselves into the fray with this North American debut. That they have Wolfmother as a touring partner seems somewhat appropriate: Wolf & Cub serve as a more sober and cerebral foil to Wolfmother’s unfettered theatrics while still leaning on many of the same prog and psych influences. Vessels is decidedly groove-oriented, with muscular bass lines leading the way, complemented by not one but two drum kits. Whether this twin attack is entirely necessary is subject to debate. What isn’t, though, is that the LP works best on the songs that emphasise percussion. The pounding title track is a fine opening salvo and there’s a jagged reworking of an old single, "Steal Their Gold,” which, well, steals the show. But psych rock can be a difficult beast to tame and when the band put on their rainbow-tinted sunglasses and start tripping out it all gets terribly tedious. "Kingdom” sounds like a half-assed Verve tribute and "Hammond” limps along unconvincingly. It seems as though this Wolf & Cub have some maturing to do before they can truly join the pack. (4AD)