This is a review of "Shallows" recorded by Those Delta Wolves. The review was written by Mick Nelson in 2016.
Those Delta Wolves release their new single "Shallows". Favourites of BBC Introducing mogul, Alan Raw and described by some as bluesy with a punky edge, the lads venture out with latest offering "Shallows". On this particular single though, are they trying to give QOTSA and possibly the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion (remember them?!?!) a run for their money? The song shape-shifts and paints a scene as if we were watching a metamorphosis from wolf to man and back again. The riff powers through until 1:20 when it breaks down to a slower pace before picking up momentum again and then finally launching itself headlong to an abrupt end. I don't know whether these boys are fans of Kyuss and early QOTSA, I'd be amazed if they weren't, as on this track a lot of the guitar licks and riffs are saturated in muff and overdrive and fuzz and with token string bends aplenty. The production is good, although I feel the vocals could sit a little higher in the final mix and they get lost sometimes in the layers of guitars, this is most evident in the chorus, it's not a huge issue, more personal preference and maybe what they were aiming for. The drummer is clearly gifted but the cymbals are too tinny for me and it sounds like a splash being used which I don't think compliments this sort of music, aside from that, the lad clearly has talent. The guitars are layered well and provide consistency throughout. The bass drives fast and hard and links up well with the drums providing a solid foundation for the layers of fuzzed guitars to be poured over the top. It's the vocals I have mixed feelings about. The more spoken signing on the verses isn't as suited to the track as it could be, I feel that a more deeper Mark Lanegan-esque tone would be better here, similar to the vocals in the early verses of their brilliant smoldering number, Yellow King. The more excitable shouting in the choruses and bridges is much better and lends itself sublimely to the song, including the shouting that is mixed into the background just prior to the closing bars. The lyrics are well crafted and akin to the image the band portray, mysterious, edgy, dark and powerful. It's a tricky one this, the lads are clearly very good at what they do and have honed their sound to a tee and apart from the few minor personal adjustments that I would make, this is a very strong single. Is this single Leeds' answer to QOTSA? It's good, really good, but is it too similar to the sound already perfected by QOSTA and Kyuss to be a standout hit? I feel that they have a more unique sound with a song like Yellow King and perhaps working on this sound could be there ticket to the stratosphere?