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JUNE 17
2019
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Wolpertinger: How We Are Alike

How to write about the sprawling, sometimes melancholy, collection of songs frm Wolpertinger entitled How We Are Alike, is a subject that has evaded me since I started listening to it.

My history of listening to this band goes back a while, when in the summer of 2011, the band’s album Lady Midday accompanied me on a considerable number of road trips. Wolpertinger is, if nothing else, music to travel to, especially in those cases where the lyrics are describing thoughts and feelings that might be occurring in the listener’s mind. How this band can put out music that so accurately mirrors my mood confounds me.

You might be guessing that at least for this reviewer, the second full-length album does it yet again, and to a certain extent, you’d be right. But in those cases where the music doesn’t describe my actual thoughts and feelings, it provides an excellent backdrop against which to put my thoughts and feelings in relief.

There’s nothing predictable about this album, and like a lot of good music, particularly prog rock (a genre to which the band would probably claim membership,) it takes a few listens to get the hang of it. But once you’re there with it, it’s there with you.

This album brings out a more anthemic direction from Wolpertinger, with tracks like “Friends and the Fear”, “Night”, and “Summer Isn’t Coming”. The first two tracks have a certain sort of pop appeal, and the third is quite an affair, hearkening back to musical theater with its chorale parts as well as its numerous movements and layered melodies.

The album brings out another sense that comes through in past Wolpertinger lyrics, that of a recognition, acknowledgement, and commentary on the baser bits of human existence. What in the track “Get Lost” is an offer to celebrate that baseness, we find reborn in “When We Get To The Interzone” as a callous reflection on it from the perspective of a world traveler. Where on “Stolyarny Lane”, there is a sense of yearning to get in and explore the night, on “Rockland” is the sense of the inevitable comedown. Nothing but dead neon here, indeed. God damnit.

Love comes, and it comes with pretty gay lyrics. “Alaska” conveys a sense of desire to run away, embracing a place personified as a new soul mate, or at least life partner, whereas “Psycho Boyfriend” tells a tale that is fairly self-explanatory.

9 tracks, and there are still another 6 tracks to cover, requiring more words. Those words will come, because I will hear those songs over and over again this fall – this time on walks through cities I have grown familiar and comfortable with. With How We Are Alike, Wolpertinger captures the essence of fall through tracks that explore a considerable range of human emotion and experience, and it is well produced, well played, and well sung music that spans genres at most times effortlessly. Give it a listen.


Wolpertinger, Eh? What’s That?

“The ashtrays here are full of other things3516603410-1
Than cigarettes and matches
Yellowed Plastic
No one knows this place is

Home”

That’s a line from the track “Pull Over, Son” on Wolpertinger’s album Lady Midday.  Like those ashtrays, Wolpertinger is familiar and also very unexpected.  The vocals rumble.  The music sparkles… how to say? darkly.  It’s a bit difficult to classify.

The band call it “Gothic Country Techno.”  That’s a pretty good description.  It’s a sound that wavers between progressive and glam rock sounds with a dark, melancholy undertone and an occasional country twang.

The singer’s voice is deep.  His lyrics seem to be inspired by the one-night-stand, androgyny, art, literature and gayness.  (Who isn’t inspired by those things?)  Here’s a line from “Snowing in New York”:

“You’re leaving me with the last bed we slept in,
You’re leaving me alone with the mini bar.”

Another one from “Mr. Darling”:

“I have grown up
started working in an office
Though I’m also a man
We can sort the sex out together”

The expressiveness of the lyrics is one thing that makes this fun music to listen to.  It is at times manic, schizophrenic music.  To quote more lyrics from the track “76-love”:

“I’ve got problems I must keep.”

After a listen or two, you may have a new problem to keep, yourself.  You may want to keep listening to this record until you simply can’t stand it anymore.