NOT SINCE Sigur Rós landed in 1997 with their maiden release ‘Von’, has a debut album created such an anthemic buzz that every shard of the body quakes in sorrow, ectascy and electricity. And within minutes of London trio Mt Wolf’s ‘Aetherlight’ the very nature of the listener’s spirituality and existence is bought to question.

This album can only be described as a triumph. Every moment within it breeds new experiences and emotion-shuddering wonderment, leaving you wishing that first listen could last forever. It’s well documented that this album took a whole year to complete. But it’s a testament to the endevour of the band and producer Ken Thomas, brains behind the aforementioned Icelandic giants, M83 and Daughter, that ‘Aetherlight’ creates behemoth-like masterpieces, so detailed but elementary.

‘Heavenbounnd’ is the album’s lead single and set ‘Aetherlight’ on its way. The thundering, massive composition that evokes nostalgic glances to the angelic tones of Dry the River, with dark synthetic murmurs through the bass, the only thing that contaminates the celestial shine is it warped electronics. ‘Soteria’ – which paints Sebastian Fox ‘Bassi’s vocals between the tremoring Justin Vernon and Jack Steadman – starts humbly enough, but the eruption of sound and colour, which melts the darkness created through its lyrics, only adds to Mt Wolf’s empowering aura.

You could be forgiven for thinking ‘Aetherlight’ was born in a Nordic state as opposed to the Big Smoke. Its craft of combining film score strings and classical arrangements to the hum of electronics and guitar gives this impression. ‘Dorji’ could easily be a track conjured by Agnes Obel or the White Album and as for the titanic ‘Starliner II’ – an eight-minute masterclass in the realms of pulsating prog, with hints of eighties electro – it’s more likely to have been a surplus track by Cliff Martinez and his score of ‘Drive’.

But this is the thing. Despite spending a year crafting ‘Aetherlight’, truly honing their own sound, Mt Wolf still haven’t found the ability to shock. ‘Bohemia’ is a drastic change to the all-conquering sounds around it. A traditional folk song, that arouses the senses to sweeping landscapes and dramatic mountains, it once again allows Bassi’s vocals to shine.

During the album’s fourth song ‘Hamburg’ it hit me. Like a smack of the good stuff that invigorates the body when at its weakest, this is an album to bring warmth in the cold.

Mt Wolf are now at the top of their mountain. And my only disappointment with ‘Aetherlight’ is it had to end.

Words by Clive Hammond


FOR SOMETIME, Charlotte Mary O’Connor – aka Charlotte OC – has been the electro-soulstress on the cusp of brilliance. Her 2013 track ‘Colour My Heart’ remains one of the darkened pop classics that finally distanced her from the bratty pop career Sony had once dreamt she would have. And in the four-years since, critics, fans […]
FOR quarter of a century, Newport alternative rockers Feeder have adorned playlist after playlist collated by exasperated teenagers, angry at something that they don’t really understand. Their songs have continually found relevance across generations of fans with the likes of smash hit ‘Buck Rodgers’ and ‘Just the Way I’m Feeling’ firm favourites, whether it be […]
IT’S been three-years since alternative outfit Happyness became our favourite dejected youngsters with 2014’s ‘Weird Little Sister’, and now as the Londoners return with ‘In Write’ the adolescent euphoria has become mature beauty. Whereas previously Happyness were about dysfunctional lyrics and sobering melodies, the space now filled by the trio represents something closer to the […]
With a career spanning four decades and 17 albums, The Stranglers, punk rock’s great survivors, show no sign of letting up any time soon. Rarely taking a break from touring The Stranglers have been a regular feature at Southampton’s Guildhall in recent years. Despite it being a Monday night the place was packed and the […]
NEW York is synonymous with musical duos. Throughout the history of the state, there is a rich vein that constantly pumps out and supplies every corner, genre and listener with something identifiable and emancipating. Simon & Garfunkel providing disconsolate lovers with a soundtrack of regret, the fronting up beats of east-side hip hop outfit Mobb […]
Dirty Freud’s Inside the Industry, Feature
In the first of a series of articles written for Quenched Music, DJ and producer DIRTY FREUD talks about his life within the industry. Here, the musician looks at the role of ghost writers. As a young musician, I felt that ‘ghostwriting’ was a dirty pairing of words. Why would anyone want to create music […]