Nearly a decade has passed since 2010’s Royal Feast, but a silly thing like time can’t bring down The Cocaine Wolves’ party. There’s still plenty of that hard rock through a punk lens to go around, as the rhythms have that gritty Motörhead drive, the twin guitar harmonies have that Thin Lizzy impishness, and the vocals are as sarcastically self-referential as ever. If anything, that time away seems to have only made the party go even harder.
It feels like the band is really leaning on their Van Halen influence this time around. In addition to the production having a more noticeable shine, the guitar tone is brighter with the leads boasting a more technical flamboyancy. There’s also a greater emphasis on backing vocals as just about every chorus is filled to the brim with Michael Anthony meets Misfits-style “whoa-oh’s” and layered harmonies. Thankfully these elements fit right in with the band’s pre-existing attitude. To put it in a way, it’s more like Women and Children First than 5150.
This energy also goes well with the songwriting, which opts for catchiness more often than variety. With the exception of the moody start on “2017 (A Treatise of Human Nature),” every song opts for upbeat rocking or blazing speed with straightforward verse-chorus structures aplenty. Of course, it’s hardly a complaint when the tracks are this enjoyable. Songs like “Rad Reputation” and “Good Times Only” succeed in their infectious aims, and the boogie Motörhead rock on “Comin’ in Hot” is pretty fun. Also, as a Ball State alum, I have to smile at a title like “Banned in Muncie.”
Nine years is a long time to wait for straightforward party rock, but The Cocaine Wolves’ Second Scorching is such an effective burner. Despite the added polish, the band keeps their blazing feel and the songs are entertaining for their energy if not their catchiness. You can tell this stuff is meant to be played live and it’ll surely appeal to fans of groups like Against the Grain and Black Star Riders. With any luck, every night will always be ladies’ night with The Cocaine Wolves.
“Good Times Only”
“Comin’ In Hot”
“2017 (A Treatise of Human Nature)”