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Album review: Wolfmother's 'Cosmic Egg'

October 26, 2009 |  7:15 pm
WoflMother_240 This Australian retro-rock outfit emerged in 2006 with a fat-free debut that played like "Led Zeppelin II" for Generation ADHD. Despite the band's worldwide success, two-thirds of Wolfmother's original lineup quit the group last year, citing irreconcilable creative differences with big-haired frontman Andrew Stockdale. Perhaps they were tired of killer and hungry for filler.

Or maybe it was the other way around: Assisted by three fresh recruits unlikely to tell their new boss no, Stockdale stretches his prog-metal legs on "Cosmic Egg," which with its lengthy guitar solos, trippy instrumental bits and overheated sci-fi lyrics seems more suited to genre enthusiasts than to Top 40 tourists. Given Stockdale's way with an economy-size hook, that's an unfortunate allocation of resources; too few of the dozen tracks here reach out and demand your attention the way older songs like "Woman" or "Dimension" did.

Some tunes are catchier than others: Opener "California Queen" has a leanly insistent two-note riff, while "White Feather" rides a heavy-funk groove. And as trippy instrumental bits go, well, Wolfmother's do the job; in "Violence of the Sun," for instance, there's a droning keyboard part that sounds like blood pumping through your brain.

Yet for all his laser-light-show aspirations, Stockdale's strength doesn't really lie in blowing your mind. He's more of a move-your-feet kind of guy.

-- Mikael Wood

Wolfmother

"Cosmic Egg"
DGC/Interscope
Two stars (Out of four)
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