Wolfmother (Release: 24th April)

Stand aloft with vigour and intent, assume the standard wide-legged stance, don your safety helmet and protective goggles, plug in your super-charged air guitar, crank the volume up to 11 and get ready to rock your freakin’ heads off!!

Welcome to the first volume of the Encyclopedia Wolfometer: the anthology of Rock. Winner of Triple J’s 2005 Award for Best Australian Album; produced by Dave Sardy – the man we must thank for System of a Down, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Marilyn Manson and Oasis; and recorded in the same Hollywood studio that was used for Pink Floyd’s ‘The Wall’ – credentials even Donald ‘the Hair’ Trump or Alan ‘You’re Fired’ Sugar couldn’t turn down.

When Bench Yokel reviewed this album on 020.com some months back he wow-wowed the “power chords fused with still-beating funk”. I couldn’t have put it better myself. It would be irrelevantly obvious to make comparisons between Wolfmother and certain well-known old-skool British rock bands, but when you hear ‘Woman’ for the first time you cannot help but be reminded of a time when Ozzy wasn’t famous for shouting at Sharon about the “fooking dogs shitten on’na caarpit aggen”.

There are very strong images of escapism in both the lyrics and the song titles (Mind’s Eye, Witchcraft and Tales From The Forest of Gnomes) so is it fair to say that Wolfmother quite enjoy gnawing on the carcass of fantasy. This is probably why they used the mythical illustrations of Frank ‘Conan the Barbarian’ Frazetta for the cover art and extracted the band name from Skinny Legs And All, a book by the daydreaming wordsmith, Tom Robbins.

Buy it if…you’re hoping for a mindblowing threesome with some Australians this year.

And if it were a combative method to see off that ‘Monday’ feeling, it’d be a can of K cider washed down with a tab of LSD. Otherwise 4 out of 5

Cosmic Rough Riders (Released: 22nd May)

After checking the nominees for this year’s ‘Naffest Band Name Award’ it looks like Arctic Monkeys have it in the bag. However, Arctic Monkeys, unlike Cosmic Rough Riders (2nd favourites for this year’s ‘Naffest Band Name Award’), have actually produced a seminal album in 2006. Seminal in the ‘original & creative’ sense of the word, not the ‘relating to jizz’ meaning.

But let’s not give these Rough Riders a rough ride, let’s pay tribute to what is ostensibly a tribute album. From the top:
It Is I? is a good rock-of-the-ages standard riff mix powered by swirls of windy synths that whiff of long locks of hair and unbuttoned, bellowing shirts. Not so much Wolfmother as Wolfgreatgrandmother
When You Come Around is Chilli Peppers’ Californication sung by Bono
In Time is evidence of someone overplaying the entire Beatles back catalogue, and not in a listener-friendly Oasis kind of way
Don’t Get Me Down is Hothouse Flowers, only more country, yay!
Lost In America begins life, again, with a funked-up Chilli Pepper bassline but quickly, and disappointingly, falls into The Eagles nest
Emptiness would surely sound better played by Doves and sung by Robbie Williams and his legion of Knebworth fans
Love Wont Free Me is Electric Light Orchestra’s Mr Blue Sky
Fight is Steve Miller’s Fly Like An Eagle
Just A Satellite is The Beatles’ Come Together, only hurried because they parked outside and the meter is going to run out any minute
This Is Your Release is What If God Was One Of Us by Sheryl Crowe, or Alanis Morrisette, or Jewel, or Joan Osbourne. Take your pick.
People Are People reeks of Tom Petty
The Stars Look Different From Down Here is James Blunt

Ok, so it’s nearly a tribute album.

Da’ Riders posess that distinctly red-faced, ginger-haired, kilt-wearing, cabre-tossing, Tennants-swigging, Scottish air about them that is so redolent in the world of music these days. The album is not, however, greater than the sum of its parts, but some of its parts are great.

Buy it if….you’re a dad, a fan of VH1 or an accountant who has lost their REM collection.

If it were on TV it would be a Saturday night variety show hosted by cheeky chappies Ant and Dec with a host of special stars to entertain the whole family. Otherwise 3 out of 5.