For Fans Of
It’s always refreshing to see a local band have a crack at something that’s left of centre.
While She Cries Wolf might peddle a sound that’s reminiscent of the premier, mid-2000’s hardcore/metal acts — Norma Jean, Every Time I Die, Cancer Bats, He Is Legend, among others — they do so in a way that distinguishes themselves from the fellow promising local talent in 2016. Newcastle’s Safe Hands have now mutated into a full-blown, Poison City-themed punk rock band, A Secret Death lay apparently dormant after dropping ‘Epilogue’ last year, and Sydney brawlers Bare Bones are still working on that debut album. (Come on, guys!)
On ‘Doubt’, the Gold Coast crew’s second full-length record, She Cries Wolf set their chaotic sights on three distinct goals: 1) advancing beyond the template that debut album ‘Divorce’ provided; 2) pushing their songwriting into new and exciting territory; and 3) distancing themselves from the down-tuned, chug fests, Northlane B-sides & 90’s grunge revivalists that populate the current music landscape.
Spearheading that charge is opener ‘Continuance’, with its pounding double-bass kicks, commanding screams courtesy of vocalist Luke Harriss and the thrashing, discordant guitars of Kyal Franklin and Daniel Belic. ‘Distorted Youth’ then roars into the picture with a commanding vocal hook and some sliding scale, guitar heroics, allowing She Cries Wolf to keep the energy up before all piling in for lead single, ‘Churchblock.’ This track is a bitter ode to addiction in all-pervasive forms, and it finds the band working off a driving chorus riff and southern-inflected leads in the verses, all before culminating in a barrage of frenetic drums. It’s great stuff!
Fans with an ear to the ground would already have some expectations on where this record was heading. Singles ‘Chapter II‘ and ‘We’re All Arsonists‘ have been released for twelve and sixth months respectively and bookend the middle of ‘Doubt’ around the spectacular ‘Fashionably Late,’ which features a country twang introduction that could convincingly double as a Lucero B-side. All three tracks form a cohesive, chaotic triumvirate of gnashing riffs and punchy drums, alongside call-and-response crew vocals that are just dying to be delivered in the live setting. But hidden amongst the group’s upfront ferocity, lies a more sinister and brooding undertone: one that’s fully realised in the yelled clean vocals, the bluesy outro section on ‘We’re All Arsonists‘ or the twisting and ambient guitar line that closes out ‘Chapter II‘.
Rounding out ‘Doubt’, SCW return to what they do best on ‘Midnight’ and ‘Memoirs’: huge vocal chants, seismic beatdowns and splicing vicious melodies with equal shots of dissonance. Closer ‘Knock Knock’ finishes proceedings with screeching riffs, penetrating bass lines and a drawn-out, ambient instrumental that provides a fitting finale to an otherwise raucous record.
But if there’s one criticism to be levelled at ‘Doubt’, it’s the perceived lack of new material on offer. The instrumental track, ‘Suicide Letter’, is brief and largely forgettable, and given that ‘Chapter II‘ and ‘We’re All Arsonists‘ have been out for multiple months, there’s really only seven brand new songs to be found on this release. Under different circumstances, there’s essentially an EP’s worth of material, but taken as a full album, ‘Doubt’ makes up for this minor misgiving with a solid creative vision and commanding performances.
She Cries Wolf certainly aren’t out to redefine or experiment with their genre, as much as they’re too busy solidifying their place in an existing one. ‘Doubt’ is a heavy, blistering record that perfectly complements the band’s energy, dynamics and their intense live performances. Old school fans will think it triumphant and with any luck, plenty of newfound fans will hopefully climb board the hype train as She Cries Wolf barrel through stages across the country.
- Distorted Youth
- We’re All Arsonists
- Fashionably Late
- Chapter II
- Suicide Letter
- Knock Knock
‘Doubt’ is out now via Elevnth Records. Get it here, scrubs.