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Dream of a Man in a Top Hat - Wolfcrier (self-released)

22 April 2024

Across a couple of brief encounters with the brilliantly named Dream of a Man in a Top Hat, I have generally warmed to their way of doing things, the sound they make and their general sonic demeanour. Well, “Wolfcrier,” their latest release, is the one that seals the deal for me. Not only is it a fantastic song in its own right, but it also echoes the sound of many of the bands and scenes from my formative years. That said, it is not nostalgia that is taking the lead here, but the deft combination of freshness, familiarity, a slightly off-kilter nature and slight abrasiveness make this an easy sell for me.

But that comes as no surprise given that Lee Leffler and Michael Frackleton, who make up this mercurial duo, were themselves two-thirds of 80s post-punkers Native Tongue. Given our respective ages, tastes, and musical attitudes, we probably have similar record collections. We may even have been in the same room, watching the same bands at one time or another.

“Wolfcrier” grooves along on buoyant motorik energy, fueled by dark and delicious vibes and intense and hypnotic powers. On top of this, the band scatter shards of jagged riffery, shimmering and fractious arrays of notes and spiralling razor wire chords for good measure.

For me, and my kind, us few, this dying breed, this is a welcoming sound, one that speaks of a time and a place but which also reminds me that music is cyclical and that time and place may, should and perhaps has, come again.