17 Jul 2019

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Stefan Wolf - Album Review: Brand New Life

06 Sep 2014 // A review by Peter-James Dries

Brand New Life is a collection of Stefan Wolf's ballads written between 2008 and 2014. 

As well as new tracks, the album, Stefan Wolf's first Long Play since 1999's Sailor, includes selected tracks from the trilogy of EPs, 2009's How Much Do I Get For A Fiver?, 2011's Der Klischee, and Quiet! Can't You See I'm Dying Here? which I had the pleasure of reviewing for muzic.net.nz back in 2012 (http://www.muzic.net.nz/articles/reviews/47048/unknown-quiet-cant-you-see-im-dying-here-ep-review).

While I enjoyed the home recorded aesthetic of Wolf's previous releases, I must say the songs sound a lot better in their remastered form.  The new mix brings Wolf's unique voice, one of the draw points of his music, to the fore. As a whole, it's a very professional mastering job all round and makes for a cohesive listening experience, as opposed to a jumpy copy & paste collection of greatest hits. 

As well as a professional gloss, it's good to see the full band treatment brought out for Brand New Life. While Quiet! was a mainly acoustic effort, and the tracks that were included have remained as such, there's nothing quite like a full band in a ballad.

Stefan Wolf's easily distinguished sound remains the same. His music is upbeat Folk Pop, his voice tinged with melancholy, and not like any other voice so it's instantly recognisable. There's a easy-listening, relaxed, old country sound and style to Stefan Wolf's music, which is perhaps a by-product of living on the coast.

Everything else I wrote about Quiet! remains true. Except the self-depreciative humour. This release takes a less tongue in cheek, more serious approach from the press release to the beautifully photographed cover, and for that Brand New Life feels much more mature.

Hopefully now that Stefan Wolf has released his ballad collection we will see a collection of Stefan Wolf style rock songs one day soon.

Brand New Life is available from iTunes and Spotify, or physically from Slowboat Records in Wellington. When Stefan Wolf isn't making music he's making music videos for his songs. If you're a fan of the music, or you're someone who needs the visual to fully appreciate the aural you should check out the videos on the Stefan Wolf Youtube (https://www.youtube.com/user/stefantehoro/videos).


About Stefan Wolf

The son of a pianist father and choir-singing mother, Stefan Wolf is on a wayward trip to pop music nirvana. An early single for Flying Nun (1987's I Could Hit The Ceiling by Stiff Herbert) was followed by the London-influenced Songs From The Basin Reserve in 1992. Sailor (‘Independent release of the year - Galway’) followed in 1999. Wolf then produced a trilogy of EPs charting incisive life events, culminating in Quiet! Can't You See I'm Dying In Here?, released in June 2012. A number of his ballads were remastered for 2015’s Brandnew Life, which also contained a clutch of new songs including ‘AIMA Best Pacific Video 2014’ winner On Your Side. Wolf has two daughters and lives in Paekakariki, New Zealand.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Stefan Wolf


Creep No. 1
Year: 2017
Type: EP

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