Wolf Colonel – Vikings of Mint

Wolf Colonel
Vikings of Mint

“Can we ride? Can we roll?” Wolf Colonel might as well be asking if they can rock and roll. Because that’s what Vikings of Mint is: a power-rock, in-your-face rock-n-roll album. This band has so much energy and enthusiasm, you can’t help but rock with these songs. After one listen, I thought it was unoriginal. After three listens, I hear genius dripping out of every song.

Wolf Colonel rock hard, with loud drums, amazing guitar riffs, and more hooks than a fishing convention. You can’t help but sing along with these songs and bounce your head and tap your feet. There are elements of older rock bands like Big Star and The Replacements here, but there’s also a modern indie sound, ala Guided By Voices, Olivia Tremor Control, The Lemonheads, even Weezer. Take those more modern bands, add guitar solos and rock attitude, and you have a hint of Wolf Colonel. Then up the energy a few clicks and fuzz out the vocals just a bit. Then add some quirky lyrics and a punk-rock attitude. There ya go – Wolf Colonel. And it’s 15 tracks in under 30 minutes. Rock on!

From the start, you know this is going to be a rock album, as “A Medium Rootbeer” begins with killer drums and guitar and then breaks into a Lemonheads-esque romp, complete with catchy chorus and perfectly harmonized backing vocals. “Mister Easter Aeroplane” has hints of Replacements and Big Star in there, all with a modern sound. The guitar solo on this track rocks! “The Emperor in the Sky” has a Guided By Voices feel to it, cool indie rock. And “These Aquatic Droids” is unfortunately too short, with the most amazing sound to it, and the strangest lyrics. Heavy GBV influence here. “Moral of the Story,” with its chorus “and the moral of the story is that nobody rides for free, not even me,” sticks in my head every time I listen to this disc for at least a day. This also has the most modern sound of any of the tracks on this album, both in the lighter guitar and the vocal stylings. There’s a few rock ballads on here, like “Agave’s Lament” and ” .” “Dear Elliott” has more of that Lemonheads-esque pop feel, as if Matthew Sweet was writing the Leamonheads songs, even with the pretty “ooo-ooo-ooo” backing vocals. And “Know What the Story Is” has a punk-rock feel to it with an infectious chorus. There’s even an organ behind the “Well alright!” of the teen garage-rock “You Ignore Me.” “Getting’ stoned at the front of the bus, gettin’ laid at the back,” sings Jason Alexander on “The Top Seven Singles Club,” which definitely has a Paul Westerberg feel to it.

Fans of the rocking songs by GBV will instantly take to Wolf Colonel, as will fans of infectious rock like the Lemonheads and Matthew Sweet. But if you’re expecting true originality like some of GBV’s more obscure stuff, don’t look here. Wolf Colonel like to rock, and they do it well, with plenty of driving guitar and guitar solos, loud drums, and catchy choruses with odd lyrics.