01 May 2018 (released)
06 April 2018
The theme of loss is at the heart of a great deal of art. One could argue that when we're in the midst of our good times, the times of success and plenty, we are too involved in soaking them up to be bothered with creating art. We are too busy imprinting those great memories. It's only once those times have passed that we take the time to reflect on what we had and what we've lost. That's why such a majority of music and art is of that mind frame.
Green Wolverine, the latest album from King Ropes is a collection of four songs that while of eclectic backgrounds and amalgamated styles, retain a unifying vein of wistful heartache manifesting itself in a particular pace and tone. Similar to the way a Tom Waits record can have a polka, an industrial stomp, a lullaby, a rocker and a waltz but still remain bound by an overarching melancholic air. When recording the album, creative leader Dave Hollier was dealing with deaths in the family as well as a move from the frenzy of the metropolitan coasts back to the rural pace of his hometown of Bozeman, Montana. All these factors make for an album that is decidedly reflective. There's a certain sorrow permeating the tracks, not out of hopelessness but simply a mourning for what once was.
'Dogeared' opens with warm waves of feedback that welcome calmly meandering guitar. Hollier delivers his country-fried wisdom with a matter-of-fact storytelling tone of a laid-back Les Claypool. He flips through his Rolodex of memories, unearthing forgotten sights, smells, and feelings. A woozy synth and feedback guitar guide you through the halls of memory.
'I am a Cinematographer', a cover of an old Will Oldham/Palace Brothers song marks the most uptempo part of the EP with mentions of walking away from New York and California in favour of middle America, echoing Hollier's own travels. The latter half of the album takes on an even more relented pace. 'Road to Ruin' has a bogged down gait with a medicated aura like the murky perception of a valium trip. King Ropes fully embrace their psychedelic tendencies creating a nebulous stew with sloppily sauntering, echoed drums, hazy guitars and fuzzed out vocals.
The four-song EP gives a tiny taste of what King Ropes are about. The first two songs don't quite mesh with Hollier's vocal delivery but the mind-bending sonics on 'Road to Ruin' perfectly accompany his dazed, rambling style. The closer, the plodding 'Fold Me Up' also finds Hollier pairing well with the track, embracing his inner Neil Young and leaning into the quavering tenor aspect. A full album in the style of the latter half of the EP would be mesmerizing.