Bullishly titled ‘Refusal is our Weapon,’ New Valley Wolves‘ debut album opens with Shake Your Bones; a track well-received at NVW gigs throughout 2014. It’s rammed with scuzzy riffs and brash vocals, and all offset against a ballroom-style rhythm (watch the video here for the ballroom reference). Animal carries little melody, but delivers well on its growl. It snarls unwavering, like a neighbours hound, quick to devour belongings that had the misfortune of being tossed beyond the back wall.
Showing a more contemporary feel, Fire In The Blood bears similarities to the Yeah Yeah Yeah’s stripped-guitar style. The lyrics “while you’re feeling older than you should, I put my blood in the fire, my fire in the blood” represent the the difficulties of pursuing a life in music alongside a day-to-day work load and life’s innate way of making it tough. Shark is another familiar track to those already acquainted with the band (it’s been available to stream on Soundcloud well in advance of the album’s release) and it displays a fun 80’s hair rock vocal – à la guitar hero, not yet heard on the album.
Athens is the first instance of the overdrive pedal being left behind (accidentally no doubt) and this forceable change brings a uniquely different tone than on the rest of the album, in fact you wouldn’t quite believe it’s the same band. What’s evident is the “foot off the gas” approach exposes the lack of dynamic within a duo of this kind – there’s only so much you can do. In sum, the song fails to grab hold with any of the stony demeanour on show in earlier tracks.
Aside from the odd instrumental filler, the album heaves with thrusting vocals, industrial guitar riffs reinforced by steely drums, and bags of attitude. Mainly reliant upon the hook and delivery of their riffs, one might assume plenty of justification for a comparison to the likes of Royal Blood or say, The Black Keys. But upon hearing the duo’s distinctly gritty and energetic sound, there’s really no room for comparison. Yes, it’s hard-hitting rock ‘n roll by a two-piece, but it’s got the mire from a Dublin side-street worked right into the fabric. And that makes it ours. New Valley Wolves debut album ‘Refusal is Our Weapon’ is out now.