Wolfmother

Cosmic Egg

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Swapping out his rhythm section, Andrew Stockdale proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that he's the mastermind of Wolfmother on Cosmic Egg, creating a second record that is essentially a replication of the first, equally enamored with all the thick, heavy rock of the '70s, specifically Sabbath and Zeppelin, tempered with a little bit of Jack White caterwaul. All the sounds remain the same, but the songs have changed: with the occasional exception, such as the Stripes-ian salute "White Feather," Stockdale backs away from simple, brutal riff-driven songs, preferring churning exercises in heavy fantasy, sometimes colored with some Deep Purple organ. It's an effective way to show off a tighter, capable band, one that can deliver a serious gut-level punch, and one that is spending more time fusing their influence instead of delivering straight-up hero worship. And, in a sense, that makes Cosmic Egg a mature sophomore effort, particularly if it's just judged on all the sonic textures Wolfmother serves up, but as the album closes with a series of meandering mysticism it's hard not to miss Stockdale's previous reliance on nasty repetitive riffs.

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