Wolf Colony – Unmasked review

WC2In 2012, Wolf Colony began collaborating with music producer Neal Sarin creating “emotional electronica”, despite having no intention of pursuing a career as a recording artist. After the success of his debut EP, Welcome To The Wild Side, he has organically built up a global following, and racked up thousands of plays on SoundCloud, with fan favourites BeautyYouth and Holy pulling in the most. These three previously released tracks feature on Wolf Colony’s debut album, Unmasked, out now, alongside a bunch of unreleased work. In terms of who he is, Wolf Colony is somewhat of a mystery – the New York singer-songwriter chooses to remain anonymous, hiding his face with a mask on the cover of the thirteen track work.

From opening line of The One, “I can make myself feel good but I’d rather make you feel better”, it’s impossible to not be struck by the combination of heartfelt lyrics and minimalistic backing. Frequent, short repetition, “I think I think you are my favourite / I know I know you are the one”, melts with the deep, magnetic vocals to create an almost hypnotic sound. A more built up opening to Youth mirrors this, sentimental lyricism in the verses merging into vocals that blend the gap between voice and synth. It’s easy to see why Beauty has attracted so much hype and over 100,000 listens on Spotify – from the sublime story telling to the keys and synthesised chorus, it’s an addictive and compelling listen.

Moving into the unreleased work of the album, there’s the same welding of understated yet enthusiastic beats, grabbing attention not through noise but subtlety, and strikingly honest lyrics. Take the longing of Paradise, the radio ready chorus of Calling or the instrumental lead of Pleasure as perfect examples of how the album manages to keep you on your toes despite it’s lethargic, meandering pace. Holy makes it as a personal favourite off the record, the introspective and philosophical lyricism matching up with a more heavily backed chorus.

Despite the rhyme, “dark and moody lover / love me like no other”, possibly being the weakest link on the record, Dark And Moody is a spectacularly seductive and cinematic piece, sharp and defined. After taking some more poppy influences into The Otherside and Brown Eyes, a melancholic edge returns in Run, and Fame steps away from the minimalism, speaking of honesty and lack thereof in regards to fame. Closing the album on piano driven In Your Eyes, there’s a return of the stripped back sound and powerful romanticism.

Wolf Colony’s slightly gravelly voice adds a deep and powerful edge to the music; think an understated mix of Yazoo and Erazure. The best electronica offering of the year so far.
Listen to Beauty below.

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