Monday, April 04, 2011

Wolf Gang - Dancing With the Devil EP review

Wolf Gang is the project of UK multi-instrumentalist Max McElligott.  A self-taught, bedroom Garageband wizard, McElligott crafts near perfect pop rock songs with incredibly catchy hooks.  Having been stationed firmly on my radar for the past few months after catching him at the Parklife Festival in Australia, I have been waiting patiently for a full length release.  With a tentative release date of "mid-2011" for the LP, Wolf Gang has satiated fans by releasing the Dancing With the Devil EP.

Comprised of five tracks, including previously released singles "Lions In Cages" and "Back to Back", the EP is centered on Wolf Gang's latest offering, the titular "Dancing With the Devil".  The EP also features an alternate version of "Dancing With the Devil" and a demo version of "Something Unusual".  

What is great about Wolf Gang is the fact that his songs are insanely fun.  "Lions In Cages" starts the EP off with a punchy chorus and a no-nonsense approach to songwriting.  There is no build up, just solid, flamboyant pop rock that is, in a word, infectious.  The track manages to capture a certain feeling, an aura, of unabashed joy.  You can't help singing along to this song and it is the perfect introduction to Wolf Gang's brand of David Bowie-esque pop rock.

The new single, "Dancing With the Devil" has been getting some coverage around the blogosphere recently, and while it does have a rollicking chorus that propels the song from beginning to end, it doesn't immediately arrest you in the same way "Lions In Cages" does.  This isn't to say that the song is weak, in fact it chugs along with the same epic sing-a-long pace.  While both songs share a strong melody and catchy pop hooks, "Dancing With the Devil" lacks the immediate attention grabbing quality of "Lions In Cages".

"Back to Back" dials the tempo down a few notches and provides for a nice break from the foot stomping, dance floor ready singles that have become synonymous with the Wolf Gang sound.  While it may not be the catchiest song present on the EP, it is a slow burning anthem with yet another memorable chorus that bounces around in your head for days after hearing it.

Following "Back to Back" is "Something Unusual", a synth heavy track that, while good, doesn't reach the same heights as the previous tracks.  Finally, the EP closes with an alternate version of "Dancing With the Devil" featuring vocals from up and coming London based artist Kyla La Grange.  It is a stripped down version of the song, and it translates surprisingly well from the boisterous and exuberant original version to this much more intimate affair.

Overall the Dancing With the Devil EP is an exciting release simply because it is a precursor to the upcoming debut album by Wolf Gang.  The EP itself is a fine collection of songs, and a great introduction to a very exciting new band.  The problem stems from the fact that most of the songs have already been released as stand alone singles, with the only new material being the title track.  Despite this, the EP is still exceptionally good, and it marks the beginning of a very bright future for Wolf Gang.

Wolf Gang - Lions In Cages

Wolf Gang Dancing With the Devil EP 

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