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On record: Undertow, by Wolf Eyes



My taste is usually more conservative than Wolf Eyes, but after seeing the band several times and getting more familiar with its catalog, I've felt an urge to listen to them every few months or so. It's not like other bands, where I think, "Man, what a great melody or vocal! I need to hear that again." It's more like, "I wonder what those weirdos are up to now?" Then, there I am again, pulled back into their fascinating and creative free-skronk world for a half-hour, wondering what it all means and finding myself sweating a bit with mild anxiety. Few bands are able to balance between being free and restrained, and when they do, they never really rock as much as Wolf Eyes.


Wolf Eyes is so prolific that by the time I think about them again, they usually have a new recording. The title track on their latest, Undertow, sounds like a more plodding, spoken-word-infused and deconstructed Silver Apples. They also have a handmade electronics feel that's more Throbbing Gristle than Teenage Jesus or other no-wavers. As on other albums, you never get the feeling Wolf Eyes is in danger of having any commercial appeal. They're the gold standard for noise.


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