Published Sep 05, 2019Fans of Rheostatics will be happy with Here Come the Wolves, which blends a variety of styles, including folk, country and hair metal. It's been 14 years since Rheos last released an album, but they have still retained their unique sound and willingness to experiment.
Still, this album feels somewhat like a victory lap. Songs like "It's the Super Controller!" "Goodbye Sister Butterfly" and "I Wanna Be Your Robot" come off as somewhat dated novelty songs. "I Wanna Be Your Robot" has a reference to the KGB that makes me think it was written before the fall of the Soviet Union. These songs have basic melodies and are worth skipping.
The songs that hold up over multiple spins to are the longer tracks, where Rheostatics flex their musical muscles a bit more. Opener "Vancouver" is a well-crafted ode to the city, while "Here Come the Wolves" goes through multiple movements — country, rock, folk — and these changes make it a more effective track. "Albatross" plays with "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner" in a clever way and the power chords of "Diamonds on Our Toes" pair well with its gender-bending chorus, "part boy, part girl."
On Here Come the Wolves, Rheostatics seem like they are having fun; it's a playful trip that references parts all over Canada. It never really comes together to be more than a bunch of fun parts, but it is certainly worth a listen and will tour well. (Six Shooter)