Werewolves

The Werewolves

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The first of two albums in 1978 for this discovery of producer Andrew Loog Oldham, the Werewolves' self-titled debut has less focus than the follow-up, Ship of Fools, the band undecided whether to try their hand at being Bad Company-lite, a slowed-down version of Cheap Trick, or R.E.M. by way of Rossington Collins Band. The jangle with tinges of Southern rock could hardly help the glam image projected by the Mick Rock photos. There's a cover of an early Elvis Presley nugget, "One Night of Sin," from his 1957 Loving You album. It's called "One Night" here, and that avenue, coupled with the folk-blues of "Too Hard" with acoustic guitar and Peter Wood's accordion ensemble, makes for a strange mix. That the Presley cover is next to a harder-rocking song entitled "Deux Voix" gives a hint of the jolts the listener is put through. The band is adequate, and everything is recorded oh so precisely, but there's little to excite. "The Flesh Express" and "Hollywood Millionaire" have their moments, but the result is your above-average bar band not able to find a niche, unable to give their formula the qualities that make for rock stardom. Brian Papageorge sure has the Paul Rodgers imitation down to a T, which strips away much-needed originality. What these guys also required was wardrobe, direction, image, and name changes, all items that Oldham should have brought into the equation. Brian Papageorge, Bucky Ballard, and Kirk Brewster sound like a team of lawyers rather than an in-the-trenches rock & roll group. "Lisa" has a Flamin' Groovies feel, and that might have served better than the hard rock indulgences slipping in and out of the presentation. "The Two Fools" could be an Eagles outtake, which is yet another stylistic jump. The song features the most promise and may be the best-produced on the disc. There was something here, but it eluded the band, as well as Andrew Loog Oldham.

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