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Wolfspring: Who's Gonna Save The World

A band put together by Jean Pierre Louveton, guitarist and singer with French Neo-Progsters Nemo and also featuring the keyboard skills of Guillaume Fontaine also of Nemo, you'd be forgiven for presuming that Wolfspring probably operate in a similar vein. Which they do and they don't... The addition of German, English speaking Julian Clemens as vocalist immediately offers a new outlook compared to the French language Nemo, but musically Louveton, Fontaine, Clemens, drummer Ludovic Moro-Siblot and (presumably his brother) Max Moro-Siblot on bass, while progressive, are far from interested in retreads. Instead what Wolfspring are intent on doing is mix eras and styles to come up with something familiar, yet almost new. I say almost, purely because as this quintet's second album Who's Gonna Save The World flurries by, it hints at lots of bands, without for any length of time ever sounding like any one in particular. The sphere of influences is wide, with Muse, Pink Floyd and Genesis jostling with Dream Theater, Black Sabbath and even a dash of Cream for supremacy, while the tight yet loose vibe of early 70s rock even competes with 00s pop-rock-prog and 80s chart-fare.

"Ninety Nine" opens the album and sells it short, discarding an initial fuzzed up Sabbath riff which battles a more Vanden Plas approach, for a slow, deliberate piano piece of Dream Theater, that while good, doesn't really set the heart racing. Which is a real shame, as what follows it is so much better and more interesting than that. However it does allow Clemens to set his stall out as a versatile singer capable of the breathy LaBrie style this song requires, while hinting at a more aggressive bite and even a touch of Nik Kershaw which come more to the fore later in the album. The heavied up Muse of "Rats" gets things started properly, guitars spiralling, vocals confidently straining. However with acoustic interludes, thudding kick drums and layered voices, the constant change of focus is this song's real strength. "In The Shade" nods more strongly at the trad prog of the likes of Genesis or Yes, although the guitars still bristle as the song builds, Eastern flavours colliding with out and out Western Prog. The lengthy "End Of The Line" however illustrates best where Wolfspring want to be, the former kicking into being via a pompous Gilmour era Floyd peal of guitars and keys, although the uneasy acoustic section that follows it is as far from a division bell as you could imagine - a strange poppy brashness desperately trying to break through dense guitars and fragile vocals as the keys casually reveal atmospheric sounds. Then suddenly, at the songs midpoint, the bass drum stutters into life, announcing another new path of heavy, technical and subtle. Whilst the instrumental "The Piper of Hamelin" adds a gentle feel to another Dream Theater like show of restraint over ability, before the song evolves energetically towards a beautiful pipe led conclusion the song's title suggests. In between times the eclectic, instrumental "Race Against The Clock" allows the Moro-Siblot's the opportunity to jazz fusionally run riot, although it is never abused and "Different Colors Of Life" is another lengthy, expertly crafted clash of moods, atmospheres and ideas. The album closes out with a tasty keyboard infused proggy cover of Sabbath's "Wheels Of Confusion", which while being a pleasantly unusual choice, does allow Wolfspring to convey almost everything they are about in one neat, seven minutes package.

Heavy, progressive, restrained, exuberant and quite wonderful, Who's Gonna Save The World may not be a question we, or indeed Wolfspring have the answer to. However across the nine tracks on this album, there's no doubt it is a debate you'll become more and more involved with.

Track Listing
1. Ninety Nine
2. Rats
3. In The Shade
4. Race Against The Clock
5. The End Of The Line
6. My Religion
7. The Piper Of Hamelin
8. Different Colors Of Life
9. Wheels Of Confusion

Added: June 1st 2013
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Wolfspring on MySpace
Hits: 1514
Language: english

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