The Wolf and the Weather are a post-graduation project by one half of White Elephant Emporium, a former stalwart of the student circuit in Exeter. Their debut EP, Portrait With Teeth, is pretty short as extended plays go, comprising only three tracks, and much of it reminds me of WEE, albeit more stripped back, with focus turned to the generation of a multifaceted and bleak atmosphere. Wanderlust, which opens Portrait With Teeth exemplifies this, with brooding verses that give way to a decidedly desolate chorus – reminding at times of acts as different as The White Lies, Bjork and recent Chvrches. Harrison Ward, who is responsible for instrument, composition and production throughout the record here does a great job in moderating the layers effectively, and much of the success of Wanderlust is thanks to excellent variations in dynamics and build.
One of the main selling points of White Elephant Emporium, who I saw a few times live, was the arresting vocals of their lead singer Emily Pickthall, who is lucky enough to operate with a range and timbre that can validly draw comparison to the likes of Kate Bush, without sounding derivative. Again I feel her voice is deployed best in Wanderlust, but her versatility is displayed in the heavier Untitled Nude, which recalls Alison Mosshart in The Kills or The Dead Weather rather than Wuthering Heights.
Overall, Portrait With Teeth is a solid opening effort, with a series of tracks which are varied and well executed. Whilst Wanderlust is my pick, the final dual-side, Fading Roses / This Garden’s Over, which has as of yet gone unmentioned, is worth your time, as this slow-burning track has more than enough developed through it to keep one’s attention for its five minute playtime. As the duo continue to refine their sound, keep an eye on them on SoundCloud and Facebook over the next few months.
Check out the EP in full below.