The Taskers – ‘Wolf Party’ Album Review

It’s late. There’s a full moon. A loud noise somewhere in the distance wakes you. You get out of bed and run to the window. It’s getting louder. Was it a gun shot? Is someone screaming?  A wolf howls. Five wolves actually and they’re at your door, armed with instruments and copies of their album – don’t worry, it’s just The Taskers promoting their brand new seventh album ‘Wolf Party’.

And they certainly have something to howl about. ‘Wolf Party’ is possibly the best twelve songs The Taskers have produced to date and it can be yours to own for the small price of £8. But before you rush off to buy it, let me give you the low down on what ‘Wolf Party’ has to offer and why you need it in your life.

Back in January I received basic recordings of some of the tracks from the album, asking for my thoughts on how things were sounding. Even in their simplest forms, with harmonies still in the making, guitar parts being decided as the tape rolled and lyrics forming as the song progressed, it was evident that The Taskers were really coming into their own. ‘Wolf Party’ was going to be mega.

And mega is exactly what it is. You only really need to listen to opening track ‘The Wolf’, to be persuaded to buy this album and they must know this, as this was the first track they shared with us back in May. I gave it a review back then, but if you missed it, you can give it a read here. It’s loud and electric and makes the big bad wolf seem a bit cool.

‘Breakfast With Ally’ reminds us that tea and toast really doesn’t wait for anyone, by giving us more of the stuff we like; a groovy bass line and crunchy guitar. It’s one of the only tracks the features Jack Tasker on lead vocals, something that is one of the stand out differences between this album and the previous six, but will have you rocking out nonetheless.

‘Girl Kissed A Boy’ and ‘Harajuku Nights’ give off the same sort of sound. ‘Girl Kissed A Boy’ is much darker though, with a harrowing cello melody that plays under the majority of the track. ‘Harajuku Nights’ is a personal favourite, even though I can’t actually sing a long to the chorus. The best way to describe this song is by forming a completely new genre for it – Japanese dance pop maybe? Whatever the genre, Jack Rennie’s vocals are the key component of ‘Harajuku Nights’ and without them, I’m not sure the track would have as much character and charm as he manages to throw into every crease and fold.

‘Shooting Star’ slips in amongst the album, offering a slight relief from the ferocious strums of JT’s guitar, as well as giving SBT a chance to have her moment at the mic. It’s hauntingly beautiful and manages to linger in your ears even after it’s finished.

‘Shooting Star’ doesn’t have much time to hang around though, as it’s swiftly cleared away by ‘Feeling’, a song that definitely has the potential to crack your speakers if turned up too loud. This was an instant favourite when I first heard it back in January, partly because it made me want to get up and dance and partly because it had a meaty guitar solo that began much like a Dirty Rotten Souls track. JT may be much quieter on the vocal front with ‘Wolf Party’, but what he lacks in vocal contribution, he gains in his ever-prominent guitar backing, a key feature of the band’s classic sound.

The Taskers are forever adding to their line-up, most recently with vocalist and violinist Laura Ellement, who’s already making her mark through the offering of ‘Misery & Me’. With crystal clear, softly delivered vocals backed by a spine tingling harmony accompaniment from SBT, ‘Misery & Me’ is an honest song that introduces listeners to Ellement in the best way possible. It’s evident that she fits perfectly into The Taskers, both vocally and instrumentally, and I look forward to seeing what her involvement brings to the band in the coming months.

If you like your real life heartbreaking moth related stories, then ‘Oh, Jeremy’ is right up your street. Yes, you did hear me correctly. Sung by Jack Rennie, ‘Oh, Jeremy’ tells the story of a moth that Rennie and SBT cared for in its final hours. An innocent moth life may have been taken in order for this song to come about, but at least we’re left with just under four minutes of Tasker-crafted musical greatness.

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‘Dig Up The Dirt’ was a favourite of mine back in January, when I first heard it in its basic form, but with the clarity of the final version, its even more remarkable. Maybe it’s the simplicity of it – the piano pulling the song along and ending with the thud of the pedal being taken off – or maybe it’s the string accompaniment, that manages to just about remain in tune with the rest of the track. Whatever it is, ‘Dig Up The Dirt’ lets you float back down to earth. You don’t have to long to find your feet though, as before you know it, you’re in the throws of ‘Sure Of Your Soul’, a snappy track with a chorus that will be glued to your mind.

The penultimate track from ‘Wolf Party’ is ‘Seattle’. This one’s led by SBT and grows in beauty and eery goosebump excellence, drawing similarities to the closing track from ‘Pleasure Point’ – ‘Mountain’s To The Sea’. SBT’s voice always makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand up, as she seems to sing with such passion and emotion. It’s hard not to lose yourself in this song a little bit, especially when backed by acoustic guitar, and so ‘Seattle’ it yet another highlight of the album.

Reaching the end of ‘Wolf Party’ you’ll find ‘Cry All You Like’, a song that peaks and troughs before eventually climbing to a crazy spiralling finale. When the madness has risen as far as it can without bursting through your speakers and spilling itself all over your carpet, and Jack Rennie, Jack Tasker, Sophie Bret Tasker, Sarah Pickwell and Laura Ellement are left bubbling at the track’s surface, it falls in on itself in a spooky Rocky Horror Show sort of ending. Even ‘The Wolf’ shows its head again with someone reciting “there’s a wolf at your door” and just when you think it’s at its weirdest, then begins a five minute synthy, guitary, spacey fade out. You may believe there’s a hidden track waiting for you somewhere in there, but believe me, I sat and listened to the whole thing and it’s really just a load of noise. But it’s a unique way to end the album and I’m definitely not complaining.

So what have we learnt from this? Well in case you haven’t been paying attention, The Taskers latest album is pretty flipping great. Not only are they possibly one of the most hardworking bands in the local scene, they’re also a fantastic bunch of musicians who continue to build on their previous records. ‘Wolf Party’ is most definitely their best album yet and The Taskers are most definitely at the best they’ve ever been.

E.

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