Cosmic Egg Review – MisterMother
‘Cosmic Egg’ is not a new Wolfmother; but a rock and roll epiphany, or realisation, of Andrew Stockdale. Even in the early days of Myles ‘Mac’ Heskett and Chris ‘Cheese’ Ross, Stockdale was Wolfmother, and Wolfmother was Stockdale, and so Cosmic Egg is just a continuation of the Stockdale revolution. Ever since the beginning it seemed like the story of a guitarist wanting to live the Rock and Roll dream, with a rhythm section tagging along for the ride, just for a laugh.
And so, the rickety Wolfmother cart found sweet success, and soon their measly cart turned itself into a glorious carriage, but alas Heskett and Ross would not continue their journey. And after a reshuffle, the lone wolf found some cubs, and the Cosmic Egg was laid. The Stockdale experience continues.
Lyrically, ‘Cosmic Egg’ shares the trippy, bizarre but refreshing feeling as the original record. After being taken by the melodies and setting them aside, the lyrics make one look into each track more and more to share the feeling the Stockdale has. Even he himself has admitted that he writes what comes to him as he plays the song and tries to make sense of it afterwards, so it is up to the listener to determine the story or meaning of each individual track, which in a way make it a very personal record for reflection. But what can be noticed is that the lyrics are more realistic. No longer are we hearing of ‘Colossal’ girls at one with trees and nature as a whole, but we hear Stockdale’s feelings, ‘I believe that love will last forever, and it’s all within my mind’, ‘Do you feel any better when you find your not alone?’ and ‘You’re gonna have to stand up some time.’ stand out mostly. Let’s not forget, Stockdale is a married man with children, he has matured, to a certain degree, but the almost random cosmic thoughts we know and love return in this record, personal favourites being ‘Look into the sky, never wonder why, the violence of the sun?’, ‘Rising from the mystic haze, standing in front of all creation’, and ‘I see the new moon rising’. The last two open the record in the first two songs, and really sum up the new Wolfmother 2.0, rising from the mystic haze of doubt, the recreation has begun, and indeed it has.
Stockdale must have felt like a child in a sweets shop with all the money he wanted to spend after the debut success, as he was in control. It is obvious that there was little contribution from the cubs, except from drummer Dave Atkins, a modern day Bonzo, who contributed a strings part. Despite it being all the work of the big A.S, each new member brings something new to the table. Atkins brings raw power and skill, pumping out immense rhythms for the cosmic re-birth, but showing his quiet, delicate ability in ‘The Violence of the Sun’. Ian Peres, who arguably had the biggest shoes to fill, has filled them, with yet more energy, flair and expertise to give, both live and in studio. He plays guitar, he plays bass, he plays organ, he looks like Jesus (maybe slightly smaller), is he actually the new, mystic Wolf-messiah? And finally Aiden Nemeth, a quiet and collected character who seems to grow in coolness and confidence everytime he is seem, is like an oxymoron. He adds a calm power to the record, allowing Stockdale to be free. I hope we see a chance for him to have a moment in the lime light like the other members seem to at stages, if and when Wolfmother phase III comes around, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
The Wolfmother we fell in love with has truly returned with the songs which grow and grow in a Zeppelin-esque way, starting calm and ending in extraterrestrial melodies. In a way you can compare it to the first album track by track, by imagining a previous song, letting it evolve, add power and you get a ‘Cosmic Egg’ track. For example Cosmic Egg’s version of ‘Vagabond’ would be the cool ‘Violence of the Sun’, the same, but with ummph, both a great ending to the album. ‘In the Morning’ could represent ‘Where Eagles have Been’, ‘White Unicorn’ and ‘Minds Eye’. It is an epic, there is no other way to describe it. ‘10,000 Feet’ is no doubt the new ‘Colossal’, heavy as lead.
While the new found power is awesome, Cosmic Egg does have a little gap for a quieter, more folky, or should I say, yolky, song. It is a shame that they have lost the folk side of their work, as there are moments where the record just needs to slow down and relax. Another problem I have is the lack of flow. Songs just don’t run into each other like last album, it’s just heavy song, after heavy song, after heavy song. On a more positive side, White Feather does lighten the moody, in a more joke like, than folk like way, it’s as if it came out of Led Zeppelin’s ‘Houses of the Holy’, but excluding that and a few others, the song structure gets too same-y, with tracks like ‘In the Castle’ and ‘VotS’, as much as I love them, growing from quiet to loud, and it just seems that all the others are just belters like ‘Pilgrim’, ‘California Queen’ and ‘Comsic Egg’, some of which have Hendrix style jams and break downs at the end which are enjoyable, but ultimately they remind us of ‘Woman’ off the debut, a bunch of real rocking out moshing songs. With Stockdale and co. doing more and more acoustic gigs and covers, we can hope that next time a record lands, there will be a break and moment of calm, even if it is just the eye of the storm.
Cosmic Egg on the shell is a record that one can smack on and relax to, or you can crack open and dissect it to find a deeper, emotion feeling, with some colossally cosmic undertones, although some would argue that going too deeply into it could frustrate you, as there are some imperfections, and at some moments it is clichéd, but let’s face it, we love it, however original or unoriginal it is, but that begs the question to the doubters, how original can you be when your writing in a musical style that would fit in four decades ago? Wolfmother are, and always will be a band which produce love/hate music, and Cosmic Egg follows suit. It may not have the variety from the first record, but change had to be expected ever since 66% of the band walked out. Stockdale has delivered his muse and stated the direction of the band, and for me it’s Wolfie love, not hate.