The three professional sidemen who stepped out of the shadows to form WOLF!, are back on the line with their new album, 1 (800) WOLF!. When destiny called guitarist Scott Metzger, bassist Jon Shaw and drummer Taylor Floreth to act as a backing band for an artist, they had no way of knowing they would end up forming a new band to fill the void by their prospective employer’s last minute no-show. With no plan, the trio was forced to discover themselves as a band in the heat of the moment. Between the crowd reaction to their efforts and the friendship already shared, the trio decided that maybe they were onto something.Listen to the new album below, and continue reading for the full review!The success of WOLF!’s first album, a self titled 2015 release, helped build the band a dedicated following and their follow up is certain to bring new fans into their pack. “Pork ‘n Slaw” kicks things off with a fitting encapsulation of the fun to come, showcasing jazz and rockabilly elements that will crop up in a variety of ways over the thirteen tracks total. The clean guitar tone on the tune gives a clear look at the work Metzger is doing, and it is a delight to see such skilled fret work on display so naturally.“Tomahawk Chop” runs the opposite direction, as Metzger’s guitar lines are so drenched in reverb you’ll expect your speakers to drip musical sludge. Echo effects give “You Are No Longer My Friend, My Friend” a sound that seems perfectly suited to ring out over a long and lonesome desert on some star filled night. Covering clean jazz, 50’s era garage rock and western music is a serous musical challenge that the rhythm section of Shaw and Floreth show themselves more than capable of handling.On tunes like the surf rock reminiscent “Furry Freedom” and “Whiskey Mister,” Floreth effortlessly cracks the whip and shows a deft precision that surpasses genre requirements. Such crisp percussion allows bassist Shaw to let loose his tone and the wide open mixes provide space for prominent near leads and heavy resonance. “Bohemian Grove” sees Shaw step into a shared lead with Metzger that he nails perfectly, snaking back and forth, evoking tinges of jazz and the sounds of the islands.Often trios find themselves limited in the amount of variety they can produce. Other acts have used sequencers and digital triggers, but not WOLF!. Showing a level of talent and execution that surely hearkens back to their studio work Wolf! manages to vary style and tempo in such a deft manor that each song is complete and unto itself. Another sign of the maturity and musical IQ is the brevity of the pieces themselves. A majority of the compositions presented here are less than two and a half minutes long, and to a one they leave listeners satisfied and ready for more.The brevity of the majority of songs on this disc makes the few longer tunes stand out. Album closer “All Dressed Up (Nowhere To Go)” constructs a rock solid blues foundation, with a riff built upon it as wide as the skies themselves. 1 (800) WOLF! is an impressive album from a trio of deeply talented and versatile musicians clearly enjoying the freedom they have to follow whatever musical whim strikes their fancy. Daring, varied and flawlessly executed, WOLF! raises the stakes with their latest release, and easily shatters expectations and sets the stage for what should be a long and wonderful road ahead.Be sure to catch Metzger at Brooklyn Comes Alive on October 22nd, across three venues in the heart of Williamsburg in Brooklyn. Metzger will be performing with Joe Russo, Robert Walter and Andy Hess, comprising one of the many wonderful super jam sessions at this unique event. With over 50 musicians on the lineup from bands like The String Cheese Incident, Dead & Company, The Disco Biscuits, Snarky Puppy and more, don’t miss your chance to see your favorite artists let loose! More information can be found here.
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