The blush of their hype-heavy SXSW slog was still fresh when Wolfmother hit Small's in Hamtramck last month. But beyond a few MySpace street team queens trembling on the fringe, Small's was dude-heavy and waiting for the rock to happen. And it didn't take long. Just as the Aussie trio did that night, Wolfmother brings it thick, hoary and throwback schlocky on their full-length debut. This is music for three-quarter sleeve T-shirts and making out on rooftops; it apes the early '70s sweet spot that allowed for Tolkien allusions and flaky lyrics about basilisks and devilish ferrymen, as long as the organ runs wailed and power chords hit like a cannonball to your solar plexus. Where Uriah Heep gave us Demons and Wizards in 1972, it's Wolfmother and "Joker & the Thief" in 2006, a little more calculated but just as fun to listen to. That track gets incredible mileage from stuttering hard rock, as does "Apple Tree" ("Your daughter is so fi-eeenne to seeeeeee ...") and the cowbell-plonking "Woman." The album's detours into flute solos, mushy Zep-folk and gnomes aren't as fun. But when they keep it loud, hype and a few stinkers don't matter. Wolfmother is simply, dumbly summertime-approved.
Johnny Loftus is the music editor of Metro Times. Send comments to [email protected].