You’d think a band with almost 17 million streams on Spotify would be someone pretty well known. However, Written By Wolves are one of New Zealand’s best hidden gems as they embark on their debut full-length, ‘Secrets’.
Both ‘Let it Burn’ and ‘Start The Fire’ work together side-by-side to start this record off as it means to go on. The short electronic introduction makes for a somewhat haunting opening, which quickly emerges into the latter providing a much heavier offering.
Although the band primarily label themselves as a rock outfit, one of the sheer talents Written By Wolves offer if their ability to intertwine an array of genres into their music and make it work. ‘Demons’ offers up an electro-dance chorus that wouldn’t be out of place in any night club, whereas ‘The Way Out’ unleashes a Pendulum-esque drum and bass anthem – a completely unexpected track that in no way feels out of place on the record.
The title-track delves into the topic of mental health and suicide by exploring how even in today’s society it can still be somewhat of a taboo subject not to be discussed. The band are evidently trying to fight this stigma by getting people talking, and with clever lyrics such as “Everybody’s got something they’re hiding / And the best secrets are the ones you don’t keep”, making for a really effective message.
Although the record does combat some serious topics, ‘Better Luck Next Time’ comes as a light-hearted tongue-in-cheek respite. Comparing real-life to a video game, the ultimate message is to not take everything too seriously, and the song’s quirky one liner “Thanks for playing, better luck next time” make for a catchy track that you’ll quickly find yourself singing along to.
Halfway through the record lies standout track ‘Lucky Stars’, and its clever placement marks the perfect midway point. It showcases yet another side to this diverse band, with an almost acoustic country twang to it with a personal message to fans who often reach out to thank the band for their music, with eloquently penned lyrics such as “You shouldn’t need a song to save your life / The world should care enough for you to feel like you belong right here.”
Closing the album, ‘Forever & Always’ is a slow love song which ties up this impressive body of work perfectly. It has an almost end of movie feel to it; you can practically see the credits rolling on what has been a somewhat cinematic experience of an album.
As up-and-coming bands go, Written By Wolves are one of the most exciting. By not fitting into a tight knit of generic conventions, their music feels fresh and offers something for every listener. There’s no denying that this is a band that’s going to go places, and if ‘Secrets’ is anything to go by as a debut record then 2020 will be the year that Written By Wolves shine.