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Song of the day – 479: The Wolfhounds

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The Wolfhounds 1987

This is far better than it has any right to be.

It’s all blurred. The photography, the memories, the music. The Wolfhounds were one of my favourite live bands during the 80s. Such fun. I can recall one gig, might have been the Camden Falcon, let’s say it was, why not, although it’s just as likely to have been the Bull & Gate or Chalk Farm Enterprise or one of a myriad of other North London pubs, where the band can’t have played more than 15 minutes tops, such was the ferocity and intensity of my (good-natured, I hope) heckling, the singer Dave Callahan trying to match me every stage. We were on fire. I have a dim impression the rest of the audience might not have shared that viewpoint, but we were.

I loved The Wolfhounds: a band the word ‘sardonic’ might have been invented for. I loved The Wolfhounds: a band the two words ‘awkward pop’ might have been welded together for. I loved The Wolfhounds: a band the three words ‘wrongly overlooked outsiders’ might have bandied around for. Caustic, biting, intelligent, catchy. Didn’t fit into any of the pigeonholes then flying around like so much grease: C86, grebo, shambling (this was the closest), anorak… this probably did them a vague disservice, although clearly also served as a testament to their individuality. They were funny, and inspirational. (Guess now I’m looking The Nightingales way, now I think of those two descriptors, and damn me for a Klosterman fan if you don’t know who the fuck they were either.) The Wolfhounds’ stand-out tune was ‘Anti-Midas Touch’ – worth a thousand of your ‘Upside Down’s if we are going to exercise bragging rights, even though we really shouldn’t – and they appeared on C86, like a bunch of other bands not easily dissected for future generations and hence not as feted. In fact, look at that C86 tape line-up… only around three of those bands on it were even vaguely cutie. Sigh. Codified,

Oh, and The Wolfhounds were from Romford, which made them as near-homies to me in our nowhere-back-of-suburbia as I’d allow. Dishevelled and a fraction too smart. And somewhere along the line they started listening to Sonic Youth, a decade ahead of schedule.

Mr Callahan went on to form Moonshake in the 90s and that was all to the good, the way he matched his rock with sampling and texture. A piece of America liked them, I believe. Me too, but I was mostly looking elsewhere by that point as I was no longer The Legend! and Mr Callahan was no longer in The Wolfounds.

So, 2012. I’m near shaking with disbelief that a) The Wolfhounds should have reformed at this late stage, b) The Wolfhounds should have reformed at this late stage and so immediately, apparently be The Wolfhounds, and c) The Wolfhounds should have reformed at this late stage and so immediately, apparently be The Wolfhounds and still sound this burnished alive. They always were contrary buggers.

Here. Knock yourself out. Here’s ‘The Anti-Midas Touch’, Peel style. And doesn’t that riff sound like something else that followed?

One Response to Song of the day – 479: The Wolfhounds

  1. Wally July 19, 2012 at 12:01 pm

    I’m really enjoying their latest single on Vollwert Records – lots of energy – and they haven’t lost their bite – with traces of The Nightingales and The Fall – well worth a listen.

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