Rock ‘n roll just isn’t dangerous anymore. I’m not talking the bad kind of danger that plunges our musical heroes into addiction and abuse, taking them from us too soon. I mean unexpected antics that make you say “what the hell?” Or “hell yeah!” I’m talking when the music and the people who make it keep you on edge — waiting anxiously for what’s next.
Enter Southern California’s Joyous Wolf. Singer Nick Reese is most certainly not the first front man to climb scaffolding high above an audience…but he may be the first to ascend six stories, getting his band kicked out of the Las Rageous festival back in 2018. Pretty badass.
The four members of Joyous Wolf have the talent to back up their rock star antics. Classic rock, blues and grunge fuse together in a Pearl Jam-Black Sabbath-James Brown tribute fueled by pure energy. If you’re looking for the next young band infusing life into the genre, call off the search. Just watch Reese dance and jump around the stage like a madman, and wonder how Blake Allard is such a talented guitarist at his age…and you’ll see the future of rock ‘n roll.
Joyous Wolf released their first EP, Place in Time on April 19, on Roadrunner Records. It’s a fresh take on sounds you may have forgot you missed.
The opening tune is the aggressive “Had Enough.” Reese’s gravelly voice takes center stage. Greg Braccio’s bass brings an irresistible groove, and Robert Sodaro provides drum fills in all the perfect places. “Said Too Much” is too much fun. This song punches you right in the gut, drags you through the mud, then picks you up for another round. Allard’s solo is killer here, and could have been twice as long.
The ’90’s/grunge influence on Joyous Wolf is evident on songs like “Quiet Heart.” Reese’s emotional performance is very Eddie Vedder. This song is so earnest it hurts. In a good way. “Place in Time” channels Soundgarden’s Superunknown. “Feel the Low” is a nice detour into alternative rock ballad territory.
The last two songs on Place in TIme are where Joyous Wolf seems to settle into their best groove– ramping up the blues. “Mother Rebel” is a killer dirty rock song, with some nasty blues guitar tricks. “Undesired” keeps that blues flavor, and adds some more frantic rock. The rhythm section dares you not to dance, and Reese takes you on a ride from smoky-voiced verses to an unbridled scream.
This 7- song EP is just what the rock scene needs. It’s like swig of your favorite beer on a sweltering day. I’ve seen Joyous Wolf live, and I can confirm these dudes are actually as good as they sound–better, even. They give their all on stage. Place in Time doesn’t quite capture their live energy and passion, but it does a damn good job trying. Joyous Wolf is wrapping up a tour with Buckcherry right now. If you have the chance to see them roll out these tunes in person– you won’t be sorry.