Tall Dark Hill

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For a band as superficially simple as Wolfie, charting their creative development is much trickier than it might seem -- with each successive record, the band's grown progressively more mature and sophisticated, two adjectives which seemingly run in direct opposition to the youthful euphoria and childlike innocence their music so wonderfully captures. Tall Dark Hill is their best -- and, accordingly, most contradictory -- effort to date; the melodies are stronger, the harmonies tighter, and the lyrics more meaningful, yet somehow the music maintains the same "Hey, kids, let's put on a show!" effervescence which made their earlier records so engaging. Abandoning the Casio-dominated sound of old in favor of a more straightforward power pop approach, Tall Dark Hill also draws influence from the classic sunshine pop of the late '60s; Joe Ziemba's songs are more full-bodied than before, and his adenoidal vocals remain perfectly complemented by the cotton-candy harmonies of keyboardist Amanda Lyons, who also takes on a welcome number of lead duties. Proof positive that even indie pop can age gracefully.

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