Todd Caras and Patrick A. formed Air Wolves from their appreciation of dark rock bands from the ‘70s and ‘80s. They cite post-punk god's Joy Division, The Fall and even The Velvet Underground as influences. It makes sense when you listen to their album Life Is A Bloodsport.
Early ‘80s post-punk is all over this album from the reverb-laced guitars to the dark grooves that you can still somehow dance to. The second track “Velvet” falls in line with the aforementioned aesthetics. The energy is created almost solely from the drums as the organ and guitars create a concoction of white noise. When the vocals come in they are spoken in a Lou Reed type of way rather than sung. The song’s most inspired moments comes towards the end where the build up is good enough of a build up that it doesn't need a release.
The ominous vibe continues with “Dirt Road Ahead” which still happens to be totally danceable. It’s sludgy, dissonant and works just fine if you ask me. If you are going to embrace the dark side you might as well be to do a little dance while you're there.
Things get psychedelic but still are dark on “All She Wrote, Goin' For A Stroll.” It reminded me of Ariel Pink at points. The vocals are unintelligible and sound like a ghost in the background. “After The Fire” moves slowly in an atmospheric whirlwind of sounds. It is hard to separate what is going on at points but that's some of the allure. The closer “Winter Comes Creeping In” leaves you with the same feeling it started with. No sense of hope, no light in the dark and nowhere to go. All right, it’s a bit bleak and not for everyone but at least Air Wolves embraces it and even savors it.
I would have loved to hear these songs with even a twenty-five percent increase in production value. Being able to hear the lyrics a little more clearly would have helped and a machine gun like snare sound would have been cool but all things considered the sounds were good for DIY.
Overall, Life Is A Bloodsport is an esoteric album that will resonate with a niche audience. That could be you.
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