Saturday, April 21, 2012

April 21: Wirepony, "Right Hook Of Love"

Artist: Wirepony
Album: Right Hook Of Love
Year: 2010

For whatever reason, over the past decade and a half, there has been a constant whine from a large portion of the music community that “rock is dead” or that “real music is a thing of the past.”  The truth of the matter is that there is a massive amount of truly phenomenal music being made every day all across the globe, and with the way that the internet makes borders irrelevant, there is simply no excuse for not seeking out the highest quality music one can find.  While the “major labels” are certainly not helping the case of quality rock music, this is not a new reality, and it is often within the spirit and sounds of independent artists where the most amazing musical art can be found.  It is within the reality of an artist being able to truly create and craft songs exactly as they see fit, without the pressure of men in suits who “think” they know what “the masses” want to hear where the most exciting sounds are occurring, and this is certainly the case of the band, Wirepony.  Bringing sounds that run the gamut from rock to folk and everything in between, there is an energy and attitude that brings to mind influences ranging from The Clash to The Drifters, and it is this combination of sounds and sources that makes the bands’ music so exciting.  The quartet formed in the wake of a handful of EP’s, finally putting together a superb collection of studio tracks in the form of their 2010 album, Right Hook Of Love.

The moment that Right Hook Of Love begins, the title track quickly sets the tone, as there is an immediate sense that the spirit of rock and roll is alive and well within the confines of the group, and yet there is also a purity and authenticity within the sound that sets the band far beyond their peers.  This sound, and the overall drive behind the song comes from the dual guitars of Patrick and Aaron Dennis, and throughout the album, it is the way that their sounds weave through and around one another that gives Right Hook Of Love much of its depth and appeal.  There are moments when the true glory of the power of a great chord are revealed in full form, and yet at the same time, there is a control and melody to their playing that shows them to be far more than “just” rock band.  This sound is perfectly complimented by the bass of the man simply known as “O,” and it is often the grooves and moods that he deploy which makes the tracks so addictive.  Clearly a band that is not afraid of a bit of distortion or following a slightly off-kilter feeling, it is the fact that Wirepony are clearly making music exactly the way they want that remains refreshing with each play of the record.  This is also true in the sound of drummer Charlie McRee, as there are moments when it sounds as if his mission is to completely destroy his drum kit; whilst at other points, he brings an artful style to the songs that makes the combined sound nothing short of completely captivating.

All of this sits behind the voice of Patrick Dennis, and there is no question that the emotion and intrigue that he brings through his vocals are easily on par or past that of the orchestrations.  Working all across the vocal scale, there is a power and presence within every line he sings that again lends a sense of authenticity and purity within the music, and it quickly exposes a massive number of other artists that fail to bring such honesty to their songs.  Whether the song is one of joy and the celebration of life, or if it is a more introspective and quieter study of pain or loss, it is the way that he crafts each word so perfectly, conveying complex thoughts an emotions in a manner to which all can easily relate.  Furthermore, regardless of the sentiment behind the song, there is a consistent sense of urgency within his singing, and it is this driving force that makes each track on Right Hook Of Love almost demand to be played again and again.  Yet once one digs deeper into the songs, there can be found a fantastic juxtaposition between the way he sings, and the actual words, as there is often a feeling that the best way to cope with more somber feelings is to express them with a force equal to the power of the actual emotion.  Taking this range of subject matter and delivery style, along with his ability to work all across the vocal scale, it is the voice of Patrick Dennis that truly makes these songs such special musical experiences.

Though many people love to feel as if they have some deeper understanding and knowledge of music by tossing around phrases like "true rock and roll is dead," this in fact does little more than show their ignorance and lack of exploring the world of the massive amounts of superb music that can be found.  While one can find brilliant examples of the spirit of rock and roll, and quality music in general being created all over the world, it can be argued that over the past decade, San Diego, California, has been as fertile a ground for such musical greatness as anywhere else on Earth.  It is the way that the music of Wirepony is able to combine the delicate words and emotions of those often placed into the "singer-songwriter" category with the bravado and appeal of rock and roll that make their music so wonderfully unique, and Right Hook Of Love quickly proves itself to be the sort of record that you simply cannot play enough times.  Filled with a wide range of musical approaches, they all come together as a singular, cohesive body of work, and it is this duality that separates the band from most of their peers.  Whether it is the gritty sounds of hard rock and punk, or the beautiful melodies that are sometimes hidden behind the volume, it is the depth and range in every sense of the word that makes Wirepony's 2010 album, Right Hook Of Love, one of the most impressive and absolutely essential recordings of the past decade.

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