Intense instrumentation

Alberta natives Wool on Wolves bring rock feel to their latest album

Wool on Wolves guitarist Thomas Reikie says he and his band mates met while they were studying at the University of Alberta.
Wool on Wolves guitarist Thomas Reikie says he and his band mates met while they were studying at the University of Alberta.
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Wool on Wolves has a changing musical style to match their changing instruments on stage.

In the past four years, the band has successfully made an unintentional shift from rural folk music to harder rock and roll.

As guitarist and lead vocalist Thomas Reikie tells me, the band doesn’t categorize themselves under any musical umbrella, something he said as he stood under an awning in Vancouver while rain poured outside.

Starting out as a folk group with their debut release Hate is Poor, Wool on Wolves has moved towards an edgier and more anthemic rock sound with their latest release Measures of Progress. Like many other musicians, Reikie said he and his band mates try to avoid being labeled as any specific genre of music.

“We try to avoid labels so to speak. It’s inevitable in an attempt to understand what you’re doing to try to say that it’s something, but I would definitely say we’re not using an umbrella,” Reikie said.

According to him, what makes his band unique is the number of instruments they incorporate in their songs.

“We would be rehearsing and someone would just say, ‘You know what would sound great on this? A violin.’ And it just so happened that one of us played violin,” he said.

The members of Wool on Wolves are fluent in banjo, mandolin, trumpet and slide, earning them the rights to the title of being multi-talented individuals.

“I don’t think you aim to have a schtick when you start a band, it just ended up being a bit of a byproduct,” Reikie said.

While other bands may rely solely on revved up guitar solos or astounding vocal riffs, Reikie said his band realized the possibility of using other instruments to create unique sounds.

“It’s not just about guitar, bass and drums. You can do all kinds of different things,” he said.

That being said, Reikie said the group will always stay true to the music first.

“By that token, we’re never going to force it,” he said.

Reikie’s said he doesn’t switch instruments as much as his fellow band members do — he gets to focus on playing his guitar.

“It’s an incredible instrument and I really love it,” he said.

Reikie’s guitar skills are evident in songs from the new album like “Be the Change” and “Midnight Avenue.”

He said making Measures of Progress was a collaboration between all members of the band. The group first got together during their time completing their degrees at the University of Alberta.

“Brody [Irvine] served as the linchpin. I met him through a job we both worked and he was roommates with Gord [Brasnett] who worked with Kevin [George] and everything came together that way,” Reikie said. “It made sense — it was the perfect storm.”

Wool on Wolves plays the Mansion on Dec. 7 at 9 p.m.

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