Wunderhorse: “Cub” album review – blazing rock ‘n’roll return on Slater’s new magnum opus


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Rating: 4 out of 5.

Newquay-based musician of Jacob Slater swaps out punk etiquette (or lack of) and fury for the haze of a man growing into himself. With a maturity to his enriching songwriting, it’s a perfect pairing.

The last time we saw the likes of Slater he was coating the fore-walls of dive bars and floor-to-ceiling venue brothels with chaotic London-trio fledging, The Dead Pretties. Like most ferocious and edgy in the world of punk, the spark fizzled out as quickly as it was lit.

Now, as he leaves the frantic inner workings of city life and drags himself from the underbelly of its piss-soaked venues – and partakes on a new path. A path of surfing in Newquay, funnily enough. And during his time on the coast, he also manages to begin the writings of a new branchild of his: Wunderhorse.

I think maybe when I was younger, I was like, ‘Oh, if you want to be creative, you’ve gotta lay around looking at the sky or some shit,’ but I’ve realised I definitely function best when there’s something to do. These songs come from quite a wide bracket of time. Some of them are really old, and they’ve been bouncing around in my head for ages. I just wanted to get them out. It felt like the completion of an exorcism or something. A lot of it is analysing things that happened in my youth, which, at the time, I didn’t have the right tools to process.

Slater on Cub, 2022

The sensitive side to his debut, Cub is a hello to a new pensive Jacob, venturing into fantastic revelations about himself. As once lost in the crowd, Cub carries Slater’s new narrative all on its own. Despite the record not seemingly hitting the mark of ‘punk fury’ we’ve all known him to create, it doesn’t necessarily means that Cub misses the mark. On the surface, it’s a fantastically catchy rock ‘n’ roll album, with traces of Led Zeppelin’s swagger on seedy single “Leader of the Pack” and Neil Young’s sauntering on the likes of Girl Behind The Glass. While it’s lucratively modern with Teal easily passing up as a Fender single, the record also harks back to the alternative sounds of the ’90s with Radiohead’s Pablo Honey on the moods of 17 and Soundgarden’s Superunknown on the perplexing odd-time broad of starting single Butterflies.

Poppy, meanwhile, starts off beautifully moving but soon kicks up a notch as it explodes into a flurry of blitzing energy, “I wanna drain your wide eyed ocean / I wanna tear your mind wide open / I was a child of maddest emotion / With you.” Moreover, Morphine is a sedated lapsing of those coastal waves Slater has run off to. On the final chapter of Epilogue, he even sings about his new life on the sea, “When I get back there / I’ll breathe the clean air” as he embraces his new life from the blurry framatics of punky London life, “The sweetest feeling
An easy freedom / Got no reason / Or cause to wonder why /But times are changing / Feelings fading / And I can’t place him / The boy I left behind
.” The song ends with all the grit and energy that you would expect on a Wunderhorse song.

When you give Cub the full run-through, it doesn’t take much to figure out why the likes of Sam Fender and Fontaines D.C are championing their music. With his own tour chartering across the UK in March next year, he is currently on the road with Irish post-punk Fontaines D.C themselves, for both UK and Ireland dates.

Raw, poignant and fresh, it looks like his new project of Wunderhorse will be everlasting this time. Here’s many more to come over the years. Highly recommend to give Cub a cheeky listen.

Release date: 16 September 2022

Communion Records LLC


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