Ten years after the release of the Grammy-winning debut album that put Wolfmother on the map, the Australian rockers are revisiting that material with a Deluxe Edition re-release. The Tenth Anniversary edition of Wolfmother’s eponymous release is a double album released on CD, vinyl, and digital formats. In addition to the album’s original 13 tracks, this version includes 20 previously unreleased demos, remixes, and other rarities.
The original material has held up well over time. The band’s trademark hard rock shuffle is perhaps even more anachronistic now than it was in 2005, with its heavy riffing, pounding drums, and frontman Andrew Stockdale’s wailing harkening back a few decades. That doesn’t mean the music sounds dated, though. With bandmates Chris Ross and Myles Heskett, both of whom would leave the band prior to the sophomore album, Stockdale creates dense rock as powerful and evocative as anyone in the current scene.
Wolfmother spawned six hit singles, including the classics “Woman,” “Joker & the Thief,” and “Dimension.” Each of those tracks shows why the Aussies were so widely acclaimed, even if the band, in its various incarnations, never lived up to the high bar set by its debut. The rarities, however, are a bit of a mixed bag.
The 20 rarities contained on the double album – most of which were previously unreleased – include 10 demos, 5 live performances, and 3 remixes. Most of the demo tracks add nothing new to the Wolfmother catalog and are simply a slightly rawer version of the same song.
Likewise, the live tracks are energetic performances of some of Wolfmother’s best songs, but considering how raw and grungy the original tracks are, there’s not a whole lot of difference. In short, the live and demo versions of songs will really only be interesting to the biggest Wolfmother fans. The acoustic version of “Vagabond” is a welcome addition, stripping away the song’s histrionics to focus on its melodic center.
The remixes are the most interesting extras, though those aren’t without issues. MSTRKRFT’s remix of “Woman” reimagines the rocker as a disco strut, stripping most of the guitar and adding trippy synth harmonies. The Chicken Lips Malfunction remix of “Love Train” cleverly deconstructs layers of the original’s funky riff. Tim Goldsworthy’s remix of “Joker & the Thief” is less inspired, a largely unidentifiable mush of thumping bass.
For Wolfmother fans eager for new material, the Tenth Anniversary re-release doesn’t have a lot to offer. Aside from the remixes, the rare tracks don’t differ enough from the original versions of the songs to stand on their own. For new fans, however, this re-release is a second chance to experience one of the best rock and roll albums of the last decade.