|Strange Attractor||The Looking Away|| |
|Get Away With It||The Looking Away|| |
|Bright Lights||Signs and Wonders|| |
|Walls of Jericho||Signs and Wonders|| |
|White Sparks||The Looking Away|| |
|Tin Man||Signs and Wonders|| |
|Everything at Once||The Looking Away|| |
|Skipping Disc||The Looking Away|| |
|The Wave||The Looking Away|| |
|The Art of Tuning Out||The Looking Away|| |
A critic said that A Silent Film "distinctly echoes" Coldplay, Snow Patrol and The Killers.
Wolf Gang's first album, Suego Faults was released in July 2011 on Atlantic Records. In February 2013, the band signed a worldwide record deal with American label Cherrytree Records, an imprint of Interscope Records, and wrote and recorded their second album the same year. The album was produced by Flood at Assault & Battery in London and will be released in 2014. An EP titled Black River featuring three tracks from the album was released in April. On October 8, Wolf Gang announced that their new album "Alveron" would be coming out on October 21st.
“The three lifelong friends—brothers Steven and Andrew McKellar and Richard Wouters—who make up the Wind-up Records recording group Civil Twilight have been playing music together since they were teenagers growing up in South Africa, emulating the rock music they heard coming out of Europe and America, from Oasis, U2 and Nirvana to The Verve, The Police, Muse and Radiohead.
“We were always really influenced by British and American artists,” says Wouters.
Which is why you don’t necessarily hear a whole lot of the music of Africa on the band’s self-titled debut, but you can hear the continent itself in Steve McKellar’s ambitious lyrics, their existential questioning and spiritual longing the perfect correlative to the music’s expansive atmospheric soundscapes, at once lush, feverish and exotic like a jungle, with the vast, arid spaciousness of a desert. From the dramatic flourish of “Anybody Out There,” with its plea for communion, the Beatlesque melodies-meet-grunge dynamics of “Next to Me” and the nervous apocalyptic jangle of “Trouble” to The Police-like world beat of “Soldier” and its chilling depiction of wartime, the moody “Save Yourself” and the wide-screen canvas of the closing “Quiet in My Town,” Civil Twilight envelopes you in its multi-layered sound and vision. The band’s name itself a reflection on that in-between time, not quite daylight, not quite darkness, but rather a shifting shade of gray.
“I draw my inspiration from the natural beauty of our home country,” explains vocalist/ lyricist/bassist Steven McKellar, who has been living in the U.S. with his bandmates for the past three years, most recently in Nashville, says of his upbringing in Cape Town. “I still find myself closing my eyes and dreaming about it, long for it, getting inspiration from the sea. You just can’t escape it.”
“Coming to America was more of a culture shock for us than we thought it would be,” nods Wouters. “But it was amazing to be in this place where all the music we loved came from, and all the history attached to it. We always wondered what it would be like to record our own albums here, with the best producers and studios in the world. It’s all a bit surreal.”
You can feel that foreign quality in Richard Wouters’ somber drum beat and Steven’s piano in “On the Surface,” a noirish song he says was inspired by reading about a murder on the Brooklyn docks. “I heard a voice inside of me/I looked up and I saw the sky scream/And there was light everywhere.”
“That’s one of the last songs we wrote in the studio in New York,” explains Wouters of the album, much of which was recorded in Greenville, SC and completed in New York City. “Steve often seems to write from that place of isolation. He really is a lot of fun, but it doesn’t often come across in the songs.”
With its eerie, Thom Yorke/Jeff Buckley-like falsetto and sense of romantic doom, “Letters From the Sky” oozes with sensuality. “That’s just a desperate, delusional love song,” says Steven.
“He said I should just go home” “Trouble”
Andrew’s edgy, The Edge-like guitars give “Trouble” its jittery feel, one of several songs that utilize a building, whisper-to-a-scream approach. “We wrote that when we were in L.A., during a very uncertain time,” says Wouters. “We didn’t even know whether we were going to be allowed to stay in America. And we were having a lot of trouble fitting in with the culture.”
“I don’t know why I raise this hell/I’m just a soldier fighting for someone else.” “Soldier”
“Soldier,” with its reggae feel and martial beat, depicts the doubts of someone just trying to provide for his family, not aware of the larger issues at stake, unaware of being manipulated by the powers-that-be. The song can also serve as a metaphor of the difficulty veterans have returning to their homes and normal lives after being scarred on the battlefield. Steven insists the song is not political, and its origin goes back even before the U.S. invaded Iraq.
“I don’t like singing about topical subjects,” explains Steven. “It’s more a character study, placing myself in someone else’s shoes. I prefer focusing on the heart of the matter, just the confusion and tension that happens within a person at war, someone who can’t even understand why he’s fighting. It literally spewed out of me after watching news reports about the war on TV.”
“I turn to the stars/And the moon at night/But the more I look/The more I lose sight” “Perfect Stranger”
With songwriting influences ranging from Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen to Bruce Springsteen and Thom Yorke, Steven has been able to translate his outsider status—first in South Africa, and now in America—into a convincing voice for his lyrics. In songs like the whooshing synths of “Perfect Stranger,” the thrashing guitars of “Something She Said” and the epic sweep of “Quiet in My Town,” Steven explores his obsession with the bigger, metaphysical questions… Who are we? What are we doing here? What happens to us next?
“I have a fascination with death and the after-life,” he says. “It’s my blessing and it’s my curse. I want everything to be as grand and huge as possible, but sometimes, in order to do that, you have to break things down and show the small details.”
The closing “Quiet in My Town” does just that. Inspired by the death of Steven’s grandmother, it is a meditation on what we leave behind when we die, and how people will remember us.
“Today I heard that someone left this earth/That someone disappeared/Left no mark here” “Quiet in My Town”
“We play music because it’s what we love to do, and we always thought we were good enough to do it professionally,” says Wouters. “People really responded to us, so we thought, let’s go to America and give it a shot. As long as we continue to feel growth and momentum, to be creative, build a larger audience and enjoy what we’re doing, we’ll keep doing it.”
“There’s one way out and one way in/Back to the beginning/There’s one way back to home again/To where I feel forgiven.” “Human”
“I’m trying to get people to surrender, to give them a sense of hope and acceptance with our music,” says Steven. “I want to tell a story that transports you somewhere else.”
From Cape Town, South Africa to Nashville, Tennessee, Civil Twilight’s trip has already taken them a long way… and it’s only the beginning.
Telekinesis covered ELO's "Can't Get It Out of My Head" for the American Laundromat Records charity album Sing Me To Sleep–Indie Lullabies, released May 2010. The band also covered Nirvana's "On A Plain" in 2011 for SPIN Magazine's exclusive tribute album, Newermind: A Tribute to Nirvana.