They booze, they bruise, and depraved Hoosiers that they are, Bulletwolf do it all with charm on their side on their second, self-released full-length, As Fast as My Home Town. I don’t know how fast Indianapolis actually moves, but if the eight tracks on the record are any indicator, it’s a fairly good clip most of the time and includes a bit of Melvins for good measure (they cover “Honey Bucket” from Houdini). Like the best of their two prior releases, the 2009 album, Double Shots of Rock ‘n’ Roll and the preceding 2008 demo, Demolanolin, As Fast as My Home Town has plenty of nasty, punishing heavy rock, the four-piece going all out in terms of both alcohol intake and volume on “6,” “Cabernet Jay” and burly opener “(Way Too Young, To) Party Serious,” which shows more than a little punk influence brought to the fore by the production job of “Iron” Bob Fouts (Apostle of Solitude, ex-The Gates of Slumber), who handles whatever the material throws at him in good fashion, leading the mix with the two guitars and letting bassist Worm’s vocals cut through as they should without being overbearing.
Rest assured that As Fast as My Home Town is heavy as balls, but there’s more to Bulletwolf’s attack than just riffs, and when they play fast, they really play fast. Guitarists “Chris” and TJ rip through the 1:12 of “Cabernet Jay” with blinding dexterity, echoing the start of the album but pushing themselves further, playing harder. But still, they’re not entirely the focus. Worm’s bass and the drums of Don E. are consistently in lockstep with the guitars, the latter especially serving to affect many of the changes in the songs. On the Neanderthal-inspired “Quest for Fire,” Bulletwolf remind of Beaten Back to Pure or the heavier end of dirt rock more than some of their punkish turns, but they’re no less believable on the motoring “Right on (Ride on),” which along with “Honey Bucket” and “Quest for Fire” is in the minority of songs on As Fast as My Home Town that don’t explicitly mention alcohol one way or another. Call it a singularity of focus, and any way you want to take it, go ahead. It comes in cans and bottles, draft if you’re lucky.
One of the major appeals of Bulletwolf is the lyrics, and if you haven’t picked up on the fact from the titles alone, I’ll say that definitely applies to the material here. “In Your Face” is less a scathing indictment of Indiana’s liquor laws as it is a kind of kneejerk reaction, the words of the song basically saying “I’m gonna get drunk in your face on Sunday because you don’t like it.” Likewise, “Truck Stop Awesome,” with its descriptions of all-over-print t-shirts of wolves howling at the moon, dreamcatcher vests and two-day-old ham and swiss sandwiches, has no shortage of charm with Worm’s throaty delivery. Even “Cabernet Jay,” which is probably more of an inside joke than even the song knows, sounds like fun. As much as they’re worth seeking out (and in the digipak form of the album, it doesn’t require much work to do so since a liner is included), the lyrics are by no means all that Bulletwolf have going for them on As Fast as My Home Town. “6” covers the by-now familiar beer-breathed territory of any number of other Bulletwolf songs, but it’s the quiet break into the guitars and the slow, massive riffs that ensue that make the track a highlight. “Quest for Fire” follows a similar structure, but more toward the middle of the song than the end, and the riff of “6” feels even bigger leading almost directly into “Honey Bucket.”
These shifts and subtle changes show that while Bulletwolf are still all about kicking your ass, taking your beer and throwing it up all over your fancy new shoes, they’ve got a little musical diversity behind them as well. More than just tempo tweaks, it’s the changes in overall vibe that make As Fast as My Home Town work, but really, if you want to sit and analyze and timestamp every turn or new riff that comes up in the songs, you’re probably missing the point. Bulletwolf is not “thinking man’s metal.” That’s not to say it’s dumb either musically or lyrically, but all that pretentious claptrap, post-metal posturing and neo-doom occultism has nothing to do with the mischief contained on As Fast as My Home Town. Instead, we get smart-ass lyrics about boozing and unabashed, unashamed good times. Not that the other doesn’t have its place, but if there’s a party at one house and a party at the other, I’m showing up at Bulletwolf’s every time. And I’m bringing liquor, because I hear they like that kind of thing.
Tags: Bulletwolf, Indiana, Indianapolis, Unsigned bands