2001: Wolf Eyes - Wolf Eyes

If you’ve never heard Wolf Eyes eponymous release for Bulb Records you might be in for a bit of a shock. There were releases before Wolf Eyes, cassettes and CD-Rs, but this was their first CD and a fitting debut for the band. Bear in mind this is a very different Wolf Eyes than many people are used to. Only Nate Young and Aaron Dilloway contributed to the album and much of the iconic sound from albums like Dread and Burned Mind is absent. Instead, Wolf Eyes is filled with skittering and fractured techno beats, guitar riffs, and an almost clinical sparseness.

Wolf Eyes have always been masters of taking elements of different genres, bringing it into their warped and bizarre world, and deconstructing it ─ this album accomplishes that tremendously. “When I Get Back,” which begins sounding like the techno godfathers, the Detroit Three (a major influence here, surprisingly) and gradually collapses into a massacre of electronic beats, is unexpected for Wolf Eyes but still bears their mark of chaos. Even when they’re working with a different palette of sounds, however, the overall impression is very consistent in their work.

The forward looking centerpiece of Wolf Eyes, the lurching seven-minute “Black is Back,” gives a good impression of where they take their sound. The song resembles a lot of the work that would be found on their follow-up Dread, and is one of the first times when Nate Young began to let himself get completely unhinged in his vocal delivery. That shows the direction they would move in, but this album is filled with strange and wonderful stylistic detours that are absent in the later work. Take a look at the next track after “Black is Back,” and you’ll find one of the strangest songs the band ever recorded. “These Girls of Mine” ends up sounding like something off Tom Waits’ Bone Machine, and is so strange for this band because it simply works as a kick ass rock song. The drums are punchy, there’s a big crunchy guitar riff, Young sounds more like David Yow than the complete fucking monster he would soon begin to sound like on the later albums.

The cover of Wolf Eyes is the only one I know that actually shows the people behind the project. It features an illustration of Young and Dilloway; right from the moment you hold the album there’s a sense of personality on it. That is what I get from this album most of all, that these two guys were still feeling their way. They try out different things without necessarily being successful, they rape and pillage a Ric Ocasek song, they provide an intermission halfway through the album ─ they seem like they’re having fun. This is a glimpse at the less confident, younger Wolf Eyes before they attained the level of brutality and intensity fitting to their name.

DeLorean

There’s a lot of good music out there, and it’s not all being released this year. With DeLorean, we aim to rediscover overlooked artists and genres, to listen to music historically and contextually, to underscore the fluidity of music. While we will cover reissues here, our focus will be on music that’s not being pushed by a PR firm.

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