Isn’t it a horrible feeling when you hear an album that in different circumstances may never have been? This album did this to me. In 2014 Mt. Wolf were on hiatus after the departure of original vocalist Kate Sproule and for all anybody knew at the time were done and dusted. But, as their own website says, “Like a sublime three-headed phoenix rising from the ashes, Mt. Wolf have responded and come back more united”. And with that comes an unimaginably good debut record entitled Aetherlight.
‘Soteria’ is the latest single release from Aetherlight and very possibly the standout cut, though that is no easy decision, and also where we see Mt. Wolf’s orchestral-like approach at its best. Soteria bubbles away ever so gently for three and a half minutes, teasing a big break a couple of times along the way, before they eventually drop the big atmospheric crescendo.
Another major Aetherlight highlight is ‘Bohemia’ – a truly seminal piece of music. With no discernible lyrics, Bohemia is brought together by heavenly operatic waves and acoustic strings in the background, building up layer after layer until, of course, the big finish. And, as before, no sooner does the track hit its zenith does it fade away again into emptiness. God they’re good at this.
One of the concerns with a band like Mt. Wolf and, more specifically, an album like Aetherlight is you do wonder if it can carry through a ten or twelve track record. Is there a point where the formula tires. I must admit, I thought it. I worried that by track five or six I would feel like I needed a healthy dose of punk rock. Well, it is absolutely not the case – not here anyway. These guys see it through majestically.
11. Starliner II
12. The Electric
13. Exit (With Brugs)
Released: May 2017