Grow Towards The Light by Dire WolvesRelease date: June 28, 2019
Label: Beyond Beyond Is Beyond
Drifting in on a haze of lysergic rhythms, enveloped in a cloudy fog of melodic masquerades, San Franciscan trippers Dire Wolves, have carved a niche for themselves as prime exponents of a heavy psychedelia enshrined within a gloriously tribal jam ethic. Providing connotations to Grateful Dead with their name (and in doing so, joining the ever wonderful Garcia Peoples), they channel the journeyman spirit of The Dead into ever intriguing, and otherworldly sounds, which act as a conduit to a psychedelic movement imbued with the very essence of nature itself.
It’s the kind of music which is borne out of the environment, and whilst drugs may indeed play a part, there is an innate sense of belonging to something much wider. Take the opening harmonies of ‘Discordant Angels’ which embraces us with its choral glow, providing a warmth as it pulls us up from the depths of the tripped out ‘Every Step is Birth’ which precedes. It is almost like a rebirth, but one flowering from a lysergic stew of natural energies and human interaction, as the music acts as its very own medicine for the soul.
It’s not all hippy glazed meanderings though, and Dire Wolves hold a candle up to kraut legends Can on ‘Spacetime Rider’. Both West Coast laid-back rock, and dribbling, nonsensical vocals, it lifts the ante from the stoned out offerings of before, and urges you to set your feet to shimmy in a rather foot-shimmying way. It’s all rather displacing though and towards the middle of the song you feel your mind start to drift off into trippier realms again.
For all that upbeat shuffling, ‘Water Bearing One’ returns you to a state of sheer bliss, as the vocals pull you into its folky atmosphere. Various instruments drift in and out, providing colour, rather than tune, building an ambience of utter calm and delight. There’s an anticipation here too, as it draws you ever onwards to its release. In this case, that release being ‘Crack In The Cosmic Axis’ which takes us further out than usual on its eloping riff. Those vocals which had invited you in on ‘Water Bearing One’ now take flight amongst the soaring cavalcade of psychedelic explosions. Using an explosion of guitar to drive it on, the track becomes a keening search for the centre of the lysergic mind.
There are few bands who offer such trippy experiences as Dire Wolves, and with Grow Towards The Light they imbue it with a natural spiritualism which underlines the music. At heart a jam band, they manage to find room on the album to explore those ever-winding passages within the confines of the songs themselves. Wrapping themselves up in a cloak of cosmic vibes channelled straight from the very nature around them, they inject it with a large dose of acid, and let the wind take their sails. The only thing fearsome about these wolves is in the way they approach psych with a free-wheeling spirit of finding that absolute high. Recommended listening for all heads.