Reviewed by Andrew Scott
If you were to write a list of key ingredients for a classic rock album it may include; heavy riffs; songs about kings, wizards and gypsies; blasting Hammond Organ; stomping hand claps and plenty of cowbell. Victorious, the new album by Australian rock outfit Wolfmother, contains all other the above in a clear homage to their classic rock influences.
Essentially a solo project for frontman Andrew Stockdale, Victorious is the band’s first album since 2014’s New Crown and first major label release since 2009’s Cosmic Egg. Stockdale performs all vocals, guitar and bass parts on the record, whilst drum parts are provided by guest musicians Josh Freese and Joey Waronker. Several songs are clearly indebted to certain bands. Album opener, ‘The Love That You Give’ and ‘Happy Face’ owe a great deal to Black Sabbath, in particular the original line-up before Ozzy left. ‘Best of a Bad Situation’ is straight out of the Boston songbook with its combination of stomping handclap, acoustic guitar and space organ. The album is sprinkled throughout with influence of different bands from the classic rock canon; Deep Purple organ, Uriah Heep, Led Zeppelin and Rainbow. Lead single ‘Victorious’ and ‘City Lights’ are the standout tracks on the record, perfectly showcasing the bands mastery of the classic rock genre. ‘Pretty Peggy’ is without doubt the weakest song on the album. The acoustic ballad, complete with tenuous lyrics, could have been hidden towards the end of the album. However, its position in the middle of the track listing kills the energy built up by the album’s opening songs.
They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery and Stockdale wears his influences very clearly on his sleeve. Although the songs are fun to listen to, they never challenge you as a listener. This album is like the classic rock equivalent of a box of Miniature Heroes. Little tastes of all your favourites are there and, although not as satisfying as their full-sized counterparts, the combination of them is still enough to put a smile on your face.
Recommended song: Victorious