Sound — 8
Back in November of 2007, Wolfmother frontman Andrew Stockdale revealed to Rolling Stone that his band's second record would be kind of cinematic and epic. This is one time when a fairly vague quote has been relatively right on the mark. Wolfmother's sophomore album Cosmic Egg sets its goals high and you almost feel like the Australian band is attempting to reach Led Zeppelin standards at various points. Do they accomplish it? They come darn close. Between the highly creative guitar tones, riffs, and overall energy throughout, Cosmic Egg is at the very least a solid album. The main issue is that almost every song seems to be striving for the epic status, making the listening process somewhat exhausting.
Cosmic Egg (produced by Alan Moulder of Smashing Pumpkins and A Perfect Circle fame) marks the first album since there's been a fairly big shakeup in the band, with virtually everyone except for Stockdale now being a fresh face. The latest additions are bassist/keyboardist Ian Peres, guitarist Aidan Nemeth, and drummer Dave Atkins, and the change has not done a disservice to Wolfmother. From start to finish, it's hard not to be swept away in Cosmic Egg's creative arrangements and overall satisfying musicianship. In fact, I kept imagining Stockdale sitting in a room and experimenting hours upon hours with different effects and thankfully so. The guitar work from both Stockdale and Aidan Nemeth are more often than not the driving force. Whether it's the vintage crunch of California Queen, the insanely deep tones of what sounds like a wah on Sundial, or the sonic aspect to Cosmic Egg, the band keeps dipping into its effects arsenal and doesn't allow things to get boring.
It's impossible not to hear some similarities to other artists when listening to Cosmic Egg. Stockdale sounds like a cross between Robert Plant and Jack White, and even the song New Moon Rising has an overall construction like a White Stripes tune. The track 10,000 Feet delivers some Jimmy Page-like riff work, but Stockdale works it out. You have to give Wolfmother credit for creating such an abundance of over-the-top tracks on one album. There are a few that could work well in the confines of radio, but for the most part the tracks are quite indulgent with lengthy solos and ever-changing musical sections.
Lyrics — 7
Wolfmother hasn't broken any ground in terms of the lyrical content but that's rarely the focal point on Cosmic Egg. There are so many more interesting things happening musically that it's hard to become too caught up a mundane lyric or two. While a song like In The Morning might have a generally free-spirited, introspective theme (When you wake up in the morning and look into their eyes; Everything you're dreaming of is far beyond the skies), it's hard not to think that you've heard these same ideas delivered before. But again, while the lyrical content might not be the most imaginative, the music makes up for it tenfold.
Overall Impression — 9
For the first 2/3 of listening to Cosmic Egg, it is hard to not wrap your arms around the bluesy, grooving, school-of-Zeppelin licks. There is rarely a short-and-sweet number, and for awhile it's pretty enjoyable to go along for the ride as Stockdale unleashes solo upon solo. By the last number it does get a bit tiring, but Cosmic Egg at least shows that Wolfmother are not afraid to break out of the cookie-cutter, radio-single format.