Wolf Party - Various Artists (Voodoo Rhythm)
A compilation of 17 of the most bent, raucous and screwed up lo-fi musical artists from New Zealand? Sounds like a concept worth bottling and who better than Switzerland’s Voodoo Rhythm to bring it on?
NZ gets a bad rap sometimes - and often for good reason. How can you not deride a place for inflicting the mawky blandness that is Crowded House on the rest of the world? The Kiwis can’t play cricket and that seems reason enough to commit any number of specific sins upon their Australian neighbours across the Tasman Sea. Exporting Russell Crowe was bad enough but did they have to send us Richard Wilkins as well? At least he keeps our cosmetic surgeons in work.
“Wolf Party” goes a long way towards balancing the books and for this you can lay praise/blame at the feet of Tape Man, the Billy Childish of the Shaky Isles who’s been making a noise via self-issued, short-run cassettes on his own label, Stink Magnetic, for as long as anyone seems to be able to remember. He’s popped up on the occasional ‘60s punk compilation in Australia. He’s so impressed Voodoo Rhythm honcho Beat-Man with his oddball sounds that he decided to tour NZ and put out this collection.
“Wolf Party” is all killer/no filler with enough cracks to trigger another Christchurch earthquake. (Ironically enough, Tape Man’s own record store was temporarily buried in the last seismic disaster to hit that NZ city and has since moved to Wellington.) The record runs the gamut from the wrecking ball rock of Pro-Drag’s “Hot-Dog” to the Link Wray-in-a-blender surf backwash of Don King and “The Claw.” You get it all on “Wolf Party” and you don’t even need to ask.
There’s some disturbingly odd soundscapes (“Deep Space 2000” by Sheville and the dissonant “Litany of the Oceans” by Full Fucking Moon) and even some Eurobeat/Kraftwerk madness by a band called Dognapped. Most of “Wolf Party”, however, takes the garage rock low road or slums it with Hasil Adkins.
One-man band Bad Evil sounds like he’s riffing on the Stooges’ “1970” on the distorto blare of “Mermaids Ride UFOs”, while Slim Chants stomp and holler their way through “Dogone” convincingly enough to make you think they fell out of the late Lux Interrior’s collection of vintage 45s. Mr Slackjaw strips it back to basics all by himself on “In a Wolfman’s Heart.”
Like an All Blacks touring party, the record’s top heavy with blokes but the sole female-led contribution , “Moonlight” by The Wrongdoings, is a sultry stumble through the swamp that’s one of the stand-outs. A thumbs up to The Chandeliers for their surf guitar and organ-flavoured instrumental “Diamondo” whose booming bottom-end hurtles along like a Little Deuce Coupe that lost a wheel. Tape Man stumps up a similarly styled number in “Thirteen” that’s a keeper, also.
Aussies find hardcore Kiwi accents impossible to fathom so it’s almost a relief to hear The Damned Evangelists’ “La Maldicion del Lobo” (The Curse of the Wolf) introduced in Spanish which is far more intelligible. It’s a heavy-arsed instrumental with needles in the red that leaves an impression like a serious skin welt after a collisions with something blunt.
A seriously no-risk purchase if garage skronk and lo-fi ‘50s rock rule your world, you could have called it "Killer Kiwis." The link below will satisfy your jones.