Wolves at Bay Only A Mirror

Formerly named Dear You (the name was taken), Wolves At Bay's debut full-length hovers somewhere between post-hardcore and punk rock, with the tendency to focus slightly on the former. Above all, the Hamden, CT quartet master double vocals, often placing breaks between choruses and verses to accentuate the contrast between the rumbling roars and higher croons of the duelling singers. Only a Mirror blasts through with ferocious intensity ("Bedside Manner" and "I Have Nothing to Offer"), then progresses with a back and forth switch from melodic tunes to harder, driving rhythms. This concept is further explored within the music as well. "Breaking in Two" begins with a long, slow melody and gathers momentum within the first verse, transforming into a hardcore-tinged tune in the vein of Small Brown Bike or Make Do & Mend. The band manage to switch between styles often enough to ward off staleness or overkill. That said, the album has a fluidity without breaking genre conventions that would disrupt the flow of their mode. Only a Mirror doesn't play like a debut, instead sounding like it's from a band that have been composing and mastering their style for years. (Animal Style)