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Wolfmother - Dimensions

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Artist: Wolfmother

Album: Dimensions

Label: Interscope

Review date: Jun. 3, 2006

Wolfmother are predictable: let’s get that one out of the way. And in a world full of predictable groups doing predictable things, it’s not a relevant criticism, unless you want to take on 95% of all music while you’re at it. Indeed, I’ve yet to read an inspired critique of the tedium that is Wolfmother. Yes, they are retro, but they’re hardly shy about it. Yes, they are major label puppets with negligible cachet, but surely, we’ve moved beyond reductive economic/structural dismissals of art. The only thing that seems pertinent is that their lead singer is punchable, but that’s not going to hold up in court.

In Australia, Wolfmother are our next great hopes after Jet, which is like saying you’re only as good as the last shoe you spit-shined, but as with other vaguely similar groups from down here pegged for greatness, Wolfmother are both one-dimensional and lacking in staying power. Their first album defined their shtick so thoroughly that the only options left are either more convoluted pastiche, which will do them no favors, or knowing self-reinvention, which will have a longer-term effect - the slow slide into irrelevance and obscurity.

Therefore, knowing that Wolfmother’s four-track EP Dimensions flicks through various pages of the 1960s/’70s mastodon rock rulebook doesn’t really help matters. (For the record, it covers post-“Crosstown Traffic” pop, flailing rock theatrics as silly, but not as funny, as Spinal Tap, and a limp psychedelic instrumental.) It sounds like rock for people who don’t particularly like music anymore, something scared up from the collective unconscious of the baby-boomers. There’s little worse than being the group that unflaggingly represents the nostalgic vision of a generation whose temporary 1960s countercultural play cynically morphed into 1980s economic rationalism, the dismantling of the welfare state and smug, self-righteous cultural lockdown. That’s a heavy cross to bear, but I can’t think of a group I would rather inflict it on than Wolfmother … except for maybe Jet. I guess that qualifies in a certain light as ‘auspicious’ company.

By Jon Dale

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