Wolf & Cub are back with new music Blue State released today via Part Time Records / Remote Control Records. As premiered by Double J’s Zan Rowe, Blue State is a dark and abrasive-sounding beast that sees the band gravitate away from previous psych-rock offerings in favour of a masterful and revelatory heaviness.
Where previous album Heavy Weight hinted at the band’s ability to traverse tougher terrain, Blue State has its roots firmly planted in 80s hardcore, thanks to a shared appreciation among the band for some of the scene’s most influential artists (Black Flag, Bad Brains et al). Some pop flourishes remain, but what’s particularly striking about this song is its fantastically tough baseline and screaming guitar, both of which are likely to imprint firmly on one’s consciousness.
Singer Joel Byrne spits out his acerbic lyrics with the same intensity, as he sings of class appropriation and cultural divide. The song also sees Byrne reflecting on his own upbringing and privilege. “I grew up in a blue collar town; my father was raised to be a working class man,” says Byrne. “But my upbringing was very different to his. He had expectations for us that we should attend university and have opportunities that he considered valuable because they weren’t offered to him. And now this has been flipped. We’ve appropriated his upbringing and his experience and wear the blue collar tag like a badge of honour. It’s interesting to see other artists channel it so overtly.”
Blue State is the first taste from Wolf & Cub’s fourth album NIL. Produced by the band and released on Byrne’s own label Part Time Records, NIL was recorded in Sydney at a variety of locations across a protracted timeframe. It is the first body of work to include Wolf & Cub’s newest member, drummer Jonathan Boulet.
The forthcoming album is crushing in its intensity: Wolf & Cub embrace the freedom that comes with starting again and the confidence that comes from experience. “My measurement for Wolf & Cub’s success in my late-thirties is significantly different from what it was at the beginning of our career,” says Byrne. “There’s no burden of expectation here.”