There's a fine line between stupid and clever -- and hell-bent headbanger Andrew W.K. isn't afraid to stampede back and
forth across it with all the subtlety of a wolf in a chicken coop.
Monitoring the 24-year-old Los Angeles native's musical and emotional maturation from his 2001 major-label debut, I
Get Wet, to his follow-up, The Wolf, feels at times like tracing the evolution of man from the Homo erectus
stage to the Neanderthal period. Not that W.K. is treading in a primordial sea of retarded sexuality and bad poetry -- though
his latest paean to the joys of intercourse, "Make Sex" ("I dont want to make life/I dont want to make death/I dont want to
make love/I just want to make sex"), leaves that point open to debate. His lyrics, however, continue to inch along toward
something resembling sophistication -- just very, very slowly.
Consider the relative leaps and bounds he's taken with The Wolf. Whereas I Get Wet championed the merits
of high-school keggers ("Its Time to Party"), raging all-nighters ("Party Hard") and wretched excess ("Party Til You Puke"),
W.K. tackles more weighty matters on his newest effort, from the duration of the party ("Long Live the Party") and teenage
rebelliousness ("Your Rules") to his own love of music ("I Love Music"). Along the way, he offers his profound take on Operation
Iraqi Freedom ("If any last one of you ever likes to be part of this war/You get out, you get out") to the delicate art of
romance ("I do what I want/And I want you").
The music, as always, is a jovial, infectious hybrid of metal, pop and dance that bursts with intensity and cheesy sincerity.
(If Danzig and Bruce Springsteen produced a lovechild, his name would be Andrew Wilkes-Krier.) And while "The Song" and the
epic power ballad "Really in Love" represent his most ambitious cuts to date, W.K.'s Wolf is packed from start to
finish with rollicking rock anthems that revel in their own absurdity. No one will ever confuse Andrew W.K. with Dylan or
even David Coverdale, but that's part of his goofy charm. W.K.'s ear for irresistible hooks is the main attraction here, and
it's those hooks -- and his mind-numbing lyrics -- that make The Wolf a delightful celebration of the cleverly stupid.
-- Rossiter Drake