Munly and the Lupercalians – Petr and The Wulf

Munly and the Lupercalians - Petr and The Wulf

Munly and the Lupercalians feature some well-known Denver names – mainly Jay Munly aka Munly or Munly Munly (Slim Cessna’s Auto Club, Munly & the Lee Lewis Harlots) along with Daniel Grandbois, Todd Moore, Chadzilla, and Rebecca Vera. The group recently released its first album, Petr and The Wulf, apparently the first in a forthcoming series of albums focused on the Kinnery of Lupercalia. If you’re familiar with any of Munly’s work, you’re likely aware that it most often leans toward the strange side of things, so let’s just run with this whole Lupercalia thing.

The album tells the “true story” of Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf in eight parts, each focused on a different character. Munly and the Lupercalians present their tale in the Gothic country style fans have come to love – this is indeed a dark affair, from Munly’s often haunting voice to the use of primitive drums and spooky strings and organ. Taken simply on music alone, Petr and The Wulf is quite visceral, but add the storyline and costumes (the Lupercalians wear a mix of black cloaks and hoods or burlap masks) in and the whole thing transforms into something very mysterious.

It doesn’t seem wise to delve too deeply into the story here, if simply to avoid ruining the atmosphere created by Petr and The Wulf. Although opening track “Scarewulf” very much reminds me of Slim Cessna’s Auto Club, Munly moves away from that territory with the great “Petr” and “Grandfater”. The very nearly upbeat “Duk” with its “duck duck goose” chorus feels like a revival singalong while the 8-minute plus “Three Wise Hunters” incorporates everything wonderful about this album into one epic piece. It’s interesting that Petr and The Wulf seems to have strong enough legs to stand as either a concept album or just a set of enjoyable songs. Not everyone is in it for the lyrics, of course.

Existing fans of the Denver Gothic country scene will surely find Petr and The Wulf to be an excellent addition to their scene’s growing catalog. Those wondering or those generally interested in twangy, dark country will likely begin to wonder why their city or town hasn’t sprouted anything this worthwhile.

Alternative Tentacles