Sean Grant and the WolfGang have come roaring through the folk rock scene like a well-Febrezed hurricane with their debut release ‘We The Working Class’, a four-track EP which blows away the cobwebs that have been accumulating ever since Mumford & Sons launched a thousand imitators, a good portion of whom tried to channel some angst and jump from NME to Kerrang. Sorry pal, strumming your Martin until the strings break while howling about your ex isn’t going to cut it anymore. Enter Sean Grant and the WolfGang, whose folk credentials remain impeccably intact while they administer a shot in the arm to the flagging genre…
You could probably guess from its title that this EP isn’t just another run-through of the go-to lilting folk template we have been left with, and the Doc Marten-wearing Sean Grant doesn’t disappoint, stomping his 1460-ed feet to an irresistibly chunky rock-influenced sound which benefits greatly from the input of the WolfGang. Questionable claims on his website aside (apparently he is ‘not an activist, but a realist’…?), Grant’s lyricism and vocal delivery take this music to the next level, mature and self-assured but never preachy or pretentious; Grant treads the tightrope which has claimed many an aspiring songwriter with aplomb.
Opening track ‘I Am The Devil’ rolls along on the back of a thumping drum beat, tackling domestic violence with tact and candour while still being fiercely accessible, while the nautical ‘Hoist The Sails’ is just as rousing, and inescapably menacing. There is a perilousness about these songs which chimes with the general air of discontent in the country right now, and which is captured in the brooding lyrics of the title track. The band identify proudly with their working-class backgrounds, and this experience has unquestionably influenced their craft, for the better. The EP ends in rollicking fashion with ‘Sing To Your Papa’, perfectly capturing the energy which gives these tracks their infectious life, and which sees you searching for gig tickets as soon as the last notes fade out.
They shouldn’t be too hard to find – Sean Grant and the WolfGang have played just about every toilet venue, dive bar and street corner in the country. This is admirable in itself, but it defines the unglamorously hardworking ethos the band have, an absolute dedication not to the image but to the music they make. This is pure, it’s from the heart, it’s how folk should sound, and even if you count yourself a staunch opponent of the f-word, give it a chance. It might just surprise you.
Words - Joe Ponting
'We The Working Class' is out now on The Shipping Forecast
Watch 'I Am The Devil' live...