The Wolf & I is an experimental electronic quartet from San Francisco and is comprised of David Butler (guitar), Tom Trombino (guitar/keyboard), Bobby Franz (drums) and Mikey Bodulow (bass/keyboard).
On their six-track album The Long Con, this daring four-piece has succeeded in crafting a gorgeous odyssey of ambient synth, guitars and an eclectic array of other instruments. Not only that, but the EP was recorded live and produced within the confines of a single day.
“Spacey Spoons” is a phrase which leaves interpretation to one’s open-ended imagination, as does the music it describes. This opening track invites the listener into the ethereal, twisted world of The Wolf & I. Delicacy and restraint shape the entirety of this EP, but it is evident from its opening seconds that behind the spaced-out and multi-layered atmosphere there lies a metallic crunch and throbbing beat.
This comes to a head on “Sun Paints The Sky.” Littered with chugging, distorted breakdowns and riffs bent out of shape, in order to wrap around the reverberating wall of sound, the only description I find to be worthy is gentle mayhem.
It is on “Crystal Gardens” that The Wolf & I temper themselves once more. Loosely picked guitars, distant crashes of drums and a tentatively plucked glockenspiel build the song into a guttural and mind-blowing climax. Riffs explode through the atmospheric lull and emerge through the other side into a heart-breaking, melancholic chord sequence.
All in all, The Long Con is a stunning journey of sonic ear-candy. Personal highlights of the album would be “Two Parts Are Better Than One” and the closing track, entitled “The Writhing Ocean Song.” The first is a six-minute long gradual build into a simply-beautiful close; reversed guitar fading out into nothing. Likewise, the closer begins with a delicately-picked and emotional guitar sequence, before building into another explosive finale. If I had one piece of advice to offer to The Wolf & I, it would be to build on their talent at creating moving music such as this, as this is where they excel from a great to a fantastic band. Nonetheless, this is an excellent piece of art and the improvisations during the live recordings are entirely unnoticeable; a feat in itself.
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