The Wolfnotes are all set for a run of live dates supporting Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly. They’ve recently announced a new single, and they’re on the brink of releasing their debut album. However, tonight, there seems to be a note of tension in the air. Unfortunately the band have had to cut their set short at Proud this evening. Frontman Kurran Karbal sounds resigned as he apologises, “It’s all [the time] we have. The guys before us took an hour to set up!” Which comes as no surprise as during Reignwolf’s support set, there was an overriding feeling that somebody needed to tell the talented, but overly self-indulgent, frontman that he wasn’t actually playing at the O2 Arena.
The limited stage time is a shame as The Wolfnotes have been out of action for a while and have only recently returned to gigging. A year and a half ago the band, then called Kurran and the Wolfnotes, released the ‘Your Four Limbs’ EP on Chess Club Records. Fast-forward to 2012, a name change and a whole lot of major label drama later, The Wolfnotes are back in the game and ready to go hunting.
The foursome open with a new track that’s led by Karbal’s acoustic guitar. It’s steeped in folk-pop traits and assures that the shake-up hasn’t altered their signature sound. The Wolfnotes fire out their greatest tunes in quick succession which makes for an incredibly strong and distinctive set. Previous single ‘Headright’ stands out as one of their finest moments as Karbal’s rich, Americanised vocals croon across the jangly guitars and build towards the big, radio-friendly chorus.
It’s quickly followed by ‘Your Four Limbs’ which will inevitably become what ‘5 Years Time’ is to Noah and the Whale. It’s the crowd-pleasing, everybody-go-home-happy-number. The crowd is jerked into motion as he sings, “And how I long for your four limbs, and long to sleep amongst their bends, and how I’d love to assist, the burning that rushes to your hips.”
There’s a quick shuffle on stage as a keyboard is brought in to lead the way on another outstanding new number but due to the slimmed-down set list, it’s swiftly swapped back in favour of the acoustic guitar. ‘Hit the Bottle’ has had a slight re-working in its arrangement since its release as the B-side to ‘Your Four Limbs’ in 2010 but it still sounds surprisingly fresh.
The band close the set with their next single ‘Upper Atmosphere’ which is due out in January. It’s a bouncy, danceable number and has something of a Beach Boys feel about it. The Wolfnotes have mastered their catchy choruses and, coupled with accelerating drums and backing vocals, have created an exciting little pop gem.
The long-awaited, debut album is due imminently and has been funded through a Pledge Music campaign. Tonight’s seven song set may have been brief but if it’s just a glimpse at what can be expected from the full-length record then it will be worth the two year build-up.
Words by Sarah Williams
Photo by Max Knight