greighwolfe sells his soul for rock on ‘playing with fire’ ep

August 30, 2019

There are some records that take a minute to work their way into your brain, and some that grab you right away. (And great ones on both sides; I remember describing Cursive’s Domestica as “incomprehensibly pretentious garbage” on first listen. It’s now one of my favorite records ever.) Greighwolfe’s Playing With Fire is distinctly in the latter camp. This is one of those records that makes you clear your schedule until it’s done with you.

The Brighton-based multi-instrumentalist’s music has a haunting blues vibe that’s sometimes reminiscent of Algiers filtered through late ’80s industrial. The EP melds electronic elements with massive blues riffs and even bigger hooks. Nowhere is this clearer than the title track, whose talk of a “black mirror” and “creatures of the night” amplifies the menace of the detuned synths and wolf howls. Next time someone tries to reboot Being Human, if this isn’t the theme song, there will be letters written. “Run” turns the industrial edge up to full, riding an irresistibly off-kilter beat through waves of tension. “Never Enough” meanwhile drops the larger than life mythologizing of the rest of the record for Greighwolfe’s bombastic version of intimacy. (Even a song about a breakup has to open with a reference to “Hellfire” in Greighwolfe’s world.)



The opening and closing tracks act as bookends, positing Greighwolfe as something like a goth Robert Johnson; the heir to a long line of musicians who’ve sold their souls for rock. “I sold my soul to the Devil and he gave me a guitar,” he sings over a distorted bassline, before the song erupts in joyous noise. If there is a Hell, Greighwolfe has given it one hell of a soundtrack.