Hard Rock? Hallelujah!

Screen shot 2009-10-29 at 9.34.34 AMWolfmother
Cosmic Egg
Interscope
8/10

They lost everyone but frontman Andrew Stockdale, and they took four years to release a followup to their debut — yet somehow, Wolfmother’s new Cosmic Egg still sounds like the second coming of hard rock.

The old trio slammed the airwaves with hits like “Joker and the Thief” back in high school, but with the lineup change, the bat-outta-hell sonic assault is gone. Instead, Stockdale has crafted a bluesy, measured sound straight out of Jimmy Page’s garage.

First single “New Moon Rising” starts off quiet and void, its verses carried by a hollow drumbeat and muted guitars, but explodes into a blues-heavy, bring-the-house-down chorus to kick-start Egg. Of course, good rock ‘n’ roll always has a little bit of the devil in it, and these guitars grind with a dose of tuned-down Sabbath grunge — a heavy contrast to Stockdale’s wail.

Album standout “White Feather,” though, is pure heaven. The choppy rhythm guitar pops along while the lead equivalent rambles in never-ending solo, ringing pure and clean all the way through the final chorus. Stockdale can’t write interesting lyrics to save his soul anymore, unfortunately, but some skipping Keith Moon drums more than make up for it.

The best part? Each of 12 tracks has the hard-rock spirit of Led Zeppelin, and the whole lot runs for over an hour of heavy blues. Sure, Stockdale needs to think twice before escalating his wail to an earsplitting shriek, but there’s no question that Egg deserves a whole lotta love.

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