Almost thirty years ago one of England’s best garage acts got lumped into a music mag campaign called C-86. A pre Brit-pop attempt to collect the leading indie acts of the day into a handy British music movement and sell a few papers.
Some acts benefitted from the connection, and many of the acts corralled into C-86 were well worth a look. The best of the lot, though, didn’t fit the largely shoegazing crowd that bulked out the collection. Wolfhounds were the one of the first genuine post-Nuggets garage bands in the UK – with a musical backbone comparable to the Stooges tempered by Big Star poetics.
Wolfhounds had a few hits up their sleeve, led by 80s indie classic Anti-Midas Touch, yet seeing them live they had a knack of catching you off guard – not playing crowd pleasers in favour of newer experimental work.
They were all about progression and stepping up. The experiments continued with an intriguing guitar mix as the 80s progressed – Founding guitarist Andy Golding was all about hardcore shredding and a Kinks / Stones edginess. Recent addition Matt Deighton’s influences were more classically English – John Martyn, Gallagher and Lyle – which made for a fascinating dynamic and tension that enflamed their later releases.
Callahan’s lyrics meanwhile were always challenging, mixing garage-inflenced Americana with a peculiarly English linguistic edge. Wolfhounds bridged a lyrical gap between the Kinks and Syd Barrett to progressive pop writers of a later era; Graham Coxon and David Gedge. Their lyrics seemed further informed by a radical ecological eye, something picked up on by a fledgling Manic Street Preachers, who were one of Wolfhounds biggest fans.
Impressed by their live shows I was brought into their circle by Pink Records, and was able to provide graphics for their most influential album, Unseen Ripples From a Pebble. It’s a graphic work that I’m most proud of. To see it getting a re-release at a time when – at last – a reformed Wolfhounds are getting the recognition that they deserved, is wonderful.
Wolfhounds remain one of England’s finest underground bands. It’s taken a generation for critics to catch up to their qualities, but the fans are very much still there. A sound that compares to generational contemporaries Bob Mould and Dinosaur Jr, and a Foo Fighters songwriting edge the band are causing a real stir, with sold out boutique shows Stateside and increasing audiences back home.
As witnessed by the latter two videos here the band are reaching a glorious new peak.