Wolfe Sunday is the endearing name Laurence Crow has given his loud, raucous, fantastically honest punk. A punk rocker from London, Crow has successfully, and quickly, made a name for himself across the UK and Europe. His latest release is due our March 25th and marks a major milestone for Crow: this is the first album he’s done with the help of others. Fully equipped with a studio to record in, producer and drummer, Empty Bottles, Broken Bones is a musical work Crow is truly proud of. My favorite detail about Crow and his musical past life, is that for his first album, he admittedly snuck into a radio station after hours to record it. This is a man who will let nothing come between him and his musical goals and aspirations AND it has worked in his favor.
Crow began writing Empty Bottles, Broken Bones after he finished college and his life was in flux. This time of flux resulted in him deciding to put music first. According to Crow, this is a concept album. He tells his own story of growing up, moving from place to place and exploring, all through the journey of a sailor heading out to sea.
The record starts with a prelude, finishing with the line:
Waves don’t make wishes, only fears.
From here, Crow guides you through salty seas strewn with broken hearts, empty bottles and broken bones. The first song is the in-your-face track, “Sick to the Bone” which takes off with a bang and doesn’t look back. The dynamics of this record are expertly crafted and the tracks are laid out perfectly. The listener isn’t forced to engage in overly loud punk rock track after track. Most of the upbeat and higher volume tracks are followed by something a bit on the softer side.
Songs that err on the softer side musically aren’t necessarily lighthearted lyrically, however. “Lith & Limb” is a simple acoustic track that’s blackened lyrics make for an introspective and heavy song. It’s a song of being lost at sea and lost in life and a moment on the record where I feel, Crow truly bears his soul.
When the ship sank, I sank, too
When I drowned, I thought of you.
But, fear not as Crow’s poetic and clever lyrics aren’t always so dismal. He has a bit of fun weaving stories of fictional characters in “Dead Benedict”, for example. This rip-roaring song will surely set crowds on fire at live shows.
My personal favorite is “Sleepwalking.” It’s ridiculously catchy but simultaneously, absolutely unpredictable. The volume rises and falls, Crow’s voice whispers and screams. You never know what you’re going to get from one second to the next.
Empty Bottles, Broken Bones is a triumphant record for Wolfe Sunday. It clearly displays Crow’s ability to tell stories through his music, both instrumentally and lyrically. It was recorded at Pioneer Studios in Essex and features Crow on every instrument except his fellow musician, Will Cummings, played drums. You can pre-order the album on Bandcamp now.