[sic] Magazine

Mt. Wolf – Hex EP

A couple of years back emergent, London-based “dream-folk” outfit Mt. Wolf blew their head of steam like the seal on a head gasket when they announced the departure of front-woman Kate Sproule. An inevitable hiatus soon followed. Gathering their forces afresh, however, last year saw them regroup with new singer Sebastian “Bassi” Fox. Their third EP, simply titled Red, then followed in the band’s erstwhile (and oxymoronic) acoustic-electro style, Fox’s creaky tenor every bit the equal of the trio’s rousing crescendos.

Now, hot on the heels of a couple of SXSW shows, and preceding an LP due out later in the year, their new Hex EP is about to hit the shelves in order to keep this reignited sense of momentum going. Along with guitarist Stevie McMinn and drummer Al Mitchell, Fox takes the leads on three of its four cuts and his voice remains a bit of deal-breaker. It’s the most fragile of things, quivering and cracking on top of pin-drop post-rock. Arguably a little too reedy and overly winsome in places, it’s unnatural almost and, as such, when it combines with the band’s warm synth swells and careful acoustic plucking it evokes the ethereality of Sigur Rós, especially on the title track, lacking the overall confidence and seamless mixing skills of the masters to do any serious damage with the comparison.

Mt. Wolf’s current direction is nonetheless impressive and pretty second single, “Anacrusis”, initially takes the same ghostly form, later bubbling and murmuring understated electronics through its veins like its coming out of hibernation after a long winter, guitars cascading down the composition like fizzing sparks. It’s another patient track too. Three of Hex’s four are over six minutes in length, the majority culminating in the most powerful, if pillowy climaxes the band are yet to record. Despite that claim, “St. Michael” spends most of its existence as barely-there synth-pop, while the classical closer “Requiem” hangs reverbed piano notes in cavernous space, synths ebbing and flowing like a literal tide. The latter of these is, perhaps unintentionally, the most emotional of all, especially for those with a weakness for the ivories. Tellingly it’s also an instrumental, organic in feel, rising and falling like the chest when breathing deeply. Learn how to balance all these components and that forthcoming LP could land with some real impact.

Best track: “Hex”

~The Hex EP will be released March 25th 2016 via CRC Music.~