By: Jeremy Scott
I first heard of the band when Brian, from A Werewolf Aware Wolf, posted on DIY Tallahassee to share the demo with the group. A Werewolf Aware Wolf describes themselves as “some sad guys from Tallahassee.” From listening to “On Better Days” I can hear distinctly the influence that being depressed while living in the Sunshine State has had on them. Throughout my listening to “On Better Days,” I couldn’t shake the strong feeling of deja vu. The demo captures the bittersweet melancholy that permeates the experience of Post-Modern life.
The mood of the whole demo hits you as soon as the intro notes are strummed for the song, “Alright.” Immediately, memories of being a carefree kid on a hot summer’s day swirled together with the crushing feeling of loneliness.
Throughout the demo there is an atmosphere of heavy melancholy. However, there is also a lightness that brightens up the mood. The songs feel like shared memories that are being recalled together. You almost don’t feel weird about genuinely answering the questions posed by the lyrics. “Alright” also introduces a style that A Werewolf Aware Wolf uses in which they build up the strong, rhythmic foundation until the rhythm is driving forward the atmospheric melodies that had almost become ambient.
“Shogi” is another example of a song in which the band seems to seamlessly mix strong positive and negative emotions. The beginning brings to mind visions of hot summer days and playing pretend outside even in the oppressive weather. However, when the vocals begin, you are filled with the sense that the person remembering is looking back on a time that was so pure. For that person, life is now dull and depressing. Their whole life revolves now around impulsive acts of ennui. The only thing keeping them alive is memories. You get the feeling that A Werewolf Aware Wolf is a band that is like if The Beach Boys had grown up listening to Joy Division. This song made me realize how strange it is to live where it is so bright outside, yet inside it is dark and depressing. The last half of “Shogi” brings an optimistic, rhytmic drive through all of the melancholy. For me, it encapsulated the weird interplay of feeling an unrequited love for life when everything around you is so alive and beautiful.
When “Wrong Car” began to play, I became incredibly nostalgic. It felt like all those times when there was nothing but a sense of aloneness. However, despite being alone, you can remember better times and feel safe. As the song progresses, there is a very beautiful part in which the whole band opens up sonically. The vocals take on a haunting and ephemeral spiritual quality. As “Wrong Car” ends, we are reminded of what it’s like to have regret filled thoughts while knowing you have to move on with life.
The final song, “Blood in the Water,” opens with a slow build up that evokes an antiquated feeling of sadness. That feeling is swept away immediately following the outburst of emotion as the band all jumps in. The line, “I hope you know I tried,” will be stuck in my head all week. I also strongly identified with feeling like such a failure that even words can’t console you. The lyrics perfectly paints how it feels to be drowning in the ocean of the world. We’re left with a feeling that a righteous acceptance of the state of life is a possible step forward. The outro brings to mind a lonely mountain hermit remembering the days when choices changed everything and there was hope in the world.
I recommend this album especially to those who enjoy indie, alternative, emo, shoegaze, and post-punk.I look forward to seeing them live sometime soon!