Darryl Way's Wolf

Night Music

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On their debut album Canis Lupus, Darryl Way's Wolf included both instrumentals and vocal numbers, with bassist Dek Messecar taking on the latter duties. The album garnered critical acclaim, and in its wake the quartet embarked on a successful British tour. On-stage, however, Messecar found it difficult to combine vocals with his intricate bass playing, thus the band's sophomore set, Saturation Point, was comprised almost exclusively of instrumentals. It was a grand album, but also failed to chart, and Way became convinced that the lack of frontman was holding them back from success. Former If vocalist John Hodkinson was recruited to amend this flaw, and the new-look Wolf began work on Night Music, their third and final album. Hodkinson's arrival wasn't the only change evident on this set, many of tracks have a more abstract feel compared to their earlier work, with the album in general far "proggier" than its predecessors. This was partially due to the prominence of Darryl Way's synthesizer, particularly on "Anteros" and "We're Watching You," where it counterpoints John Etheridge's lovely guitar solo. Only on "Steal the World" does Way's violin play an important role. The set is more improvisational as well, but counter-intuitively less genre-bending, although the hints of British Beat that are tucked neatly into "Black September" and the funk that powers parts of "The Envoy" are strong reminders of Way's more eclectic past. Mostly, the album straddles rock and jazz, and although it too is a highly accessible set, only the final number, "Comrade of the Nine," could be described as catchy. Unfortunately, once again Way failed to break into the British charts, and when he was invited to return to his former band, Curved Air, he accepted the invitation, and his Wolf would roam free no more.

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