Wolventrix – Ours Till Dawn Album Review
I challenge anyone to accuse the creators of this album of either lacking integrity, or self-belief in their work because there's definitely a motivation to push themselves beyond the mundane that many an indie band falls foul of in pursuit of mass appeal.
Wolventrix make their first impression with the lead vocals of Tom Walkden whose opening lyrical romanticism owes much to the classics such as Jane Austen's Pride And Prejudice with diaries only complete by the inclusions of dried flowers amongst the pages as suggested subliminally by the floral album artwork.
Opening track Christmas Revelations sees our protagonist wax lyrical about a past winter romance with his poignant nostalgia thick enough to slice and spread on the crumpets the young couple most certainly feasted on after their wintry romp.
That would be all well and good if it weren't for Tom Walkden's vocals that one fears would be lost to the wind if it weren't for a record studio and amplification that leave the listener to deal with what feels like a persistent case of Tinnitus. Interestingly, with others likening his efforts to those of Suede's Brett Anderson though quite rightly devoid of his dark, Dog Man Star-era reckless devotion to the ingestion of copious narcotics. No what we have to endure are 45 incessant minutes of Suede served up with a mix of Damien Rice self-pity and large helpings of Keane-esque stadium pop.
There's no faulting the group's intelligence and having travelled extensively after the suffering endured whilst studying various academia at Oxford University this listener is sure that there is much invested in Ours Till Dawn than a collection of songs dealing with the vocalist's erotic escapism and as such shall do his best to break it down only to build it back up again and in so doing give a full critique of both this album's aural value and equally the ingredients that were (either consciously or subconsciously) of varying importance in its production.
NME Magazine seems to have received entirely different versions with talk of "...immense choruses." While these choruses were most likely those in the album's second track Wanderlust,/i> which does boast strong choruses delivered laudably and accompanied by soaring strings and backing vocals to produce what I'd highlight as being among the LP's finer offerings.
As the album continues it becomes clear that each proceeding track is more than just an island unto itself, but rather furthers the album's ingenuity that bit further. The unique nature of each track is not unusual in the iPod generation in which we live, but the effort and skill implemented to make the album flow as it does really is to be given a metaphoric round of applause. The protagonist starts out deeply nostalgic, escaping reality through the reliving of romantic memories.
The fashion in which Ours Till Dawn unravels thematically, lyrically and emotionally is where it really shines. With lines like:
"They said you were my death and taxes,
No escaping if I tried
It turns out that I'm a mongrel
Dorian Gray and Herod's wife
As sure as eggs are eggs you'd be my bride." (Taken from Sham White Wedding)
As I have mentioned earlier, despite the rather weedy vocals they contain an earnestness and are able to imbue the latter lyrics with the requisite emotion for example the panache with which he spits out the penultimate 'Shakespearean couplet'
"And now I'm haunted by a question that goes round and round inside my head
Have you ever tried to be yourself?" (Nostalgia)
I was harsh at first regarding Wolventrix, but my opinion of the band has improved with a new found admiration for artists' less obvious talents. However, pad this album out to around 2 hours and you have a jolly good Musical, let alone Play.
Let's just say it's not my cup of tea, but it does deserve high praise