“Perennially unfashionable… “
“Bound to be another shelf sitter…”
Reading reviews like the above makes you question the adage “any press is good press.” If you took the reviews seriously that is… A grain of salt is the recommended accompaniment with Stefan Wolf’s latest release, self-described as “the paradox of a happy life tangling with the possibility of death.”
Though it sounds morbid, the music is anything but. I was kindly granted a physical release of the album featuring the technicolour masterpiece of Gabby Malpas. The cover is a wash of vibrant rainbow of blues, greens, purples, red and yellow. Such a contradiction to the words sprawling over the image. So bright you barely notice the skull with a flower eye in the bottom corner.
I can’t go – So many things one man can’t do. I can relate. I’ve had days like these. “I can’t make things right.” The song reminds me of the Railroader’s Lament, also known as the 500 Miles song. Slow, steady, sombre.
Moviestar – Classic Kiwi Rock. Caustic. The guitar builds up in ways. “And you think you look like James smoking your cigar… You’re no James Dean.” It is no doubt cathartic getting those words out, even if the subject is too high on their movie star cloud to hear it.
Oscar’s Beauty – For fans of Pink Floyd’s Fletcher Memorial Home. Similar sound, Acoustic folk, rising strings, occasional subdued cymbal. Melancholic and cynical. “Scarlett Johansson, the politics make me snigger…”
Strange Place – The style is kind of like a happier rendition of The Chill’s Pink Frost, which in turn is like any Joy Division song ever made. A strange contradiction. Happy Joy Division. More esoteric than the other more acoustic tracks. Faster too. Shorter.
Kiss of the Century – The feelings evoked by this song stir up a longing of the time long ago when I first had one of these kisses, where everything was perfect, slow motion like a movie, and also that feeling of confusion and loss that comes afterwards, knowing that the moment could not last forever and life goes on. “I didn’t have any shoes and I felt all alone.” Thematically similar to Rammstein’s Nebel, but it’s a bit of a stretch to compare Deutsche Tanz-Metal to bluesy acoustic folk.
The music is beautiful. The accent undeniably Kiwi. A variety of styles. All very easy listening. But oh so short. Thirteen minutes is the smallest titbit of nibble. Were it a novel, or by rights a short story, Quiet! would be a page turner. I refute the Wolf’s reviews of the past, though I wonder if the quotes I laid out as this reviews epigraph are a satire of the Kiwi art of self-depriciation.
Quiet! brings to a close the trilogy of EPs started with 2009’s How much do I get for a fiver? And followed by last year’s Das Klischee. All are available for purchase from Wolf’s CDBaby.com page.