What began as Adam Gross’s follow-up solo project to former Indy powerhouse Amo Joy, S.M. Wolf has blossomed over their fresh existence. Gross, who handles guitar and vocal duties, is supported by bandmates Melanie Rau, Ben Leslie and Rachel Enneking. The band has previously released two EPs, S.M. Wolf put out by In Store Recordings and Canine Country Club by Jurassic Pop (a split with Faux Paw).
After two years and two EPs, In Store Recordings and Jurassic Pop are coming together to help the Wolves put out their debut LP, Neon Debris. And I gotta say, the album succeeds in bridging the gap between the '60s psych rock and power pop, creating a sound that feels tastefully nostalgic. And this is coming from somebody who listens to screamo all day.
Singles “Lies to Heathens” and “We All Decided No” work as proper starting points and midpoints in the album. “Lies to Heathens” introduces the album’s airy sonic space and slightly fuzzy guitars. Gross’s voice floats over the band, singing of conformity. “We All Decided No” has everything you could want: a memorable melody in the verse followed by a contrastingly huge chorus, song structure and themes that feel reminiscent of Gross' previous project Amo Joy (which also included SM Wolf member Leslie), and of course, you could dance yourself stupid listening to it.
As expected, the album is full of experimentation and interesting sounds. Not always at the forefront of the mix, it leaves listeners the ability to go through the album multiple times, each time finding something new they can enjoy. I’ve listened to it countless times, and each time I catch myself saying, “Wow I didn’t notice that effect there,” or, “Wow that was a really cool transition,” and all other sorts of exclamations. Wow!
To add to the experimentation, the mix of the album is something remarkable. Nearly everything recorded by Gross (with help from the other members), he recorded it all on an 8-track reel-to-reel, giving it that genuine '60s sound. However, through the magic of post-production, the album sounds as fresh as can be, bright tones catching your ear’s attention and low bass tones cutting clearly through the mix.
If listening to this hella-sick album isn’t enough fun for you, maybe try seeing them live? Oh, I know, how about this Saturday? S.M. Wolf’s album release show is going down at Pioneer Indy at 10:00 pm. For just $5, you’ll get to catch these guys likely blowing the roof off the place with some exceptional support from Mike Adams At His Honest Weight and DJ Jun Ra.