The problem with having a live shtick is that, sooner or later, you gotta put out the record and let the tunes live or die on their own merits. Clearwater’s own, heavily buzzed Wolf-Face has gotten a lot of mileage out of its Teen Wolf-derived persona and hirsute live look and shenanigans, but its first proper full-length does a better-than-average job of putting the sonics front and center.
At its core, the music on Still A Son Of A Bitch (Mooster Records) is the sort of yelly, catchy punk often associated with Gainesville or Minneapolis — abeit obsessed with all things lupine. Most of the tunes are bouncy and catchy enough, with big hooks and gravelly harmonies that hang together much better than they have any right to. “Love Me, Rub Me, Fuck Me Werewolf (Pamela’s Song),” “I Came To Play,” “She Swallows (For Boof)” and “What Are You Looking At Dicknose” are all highlights, but most of the tracks here hit the right notes with a rollicking, half-serious vibe and plenty of volume. In fact, the only places where the disc falls short are where it tries too hard to stick to the shtick, laying the Teen Wolf samples and mythology on much too heavily in tracks like “There’s Plenty Of Room In My Den But No Room For A Bitch” and silly, homophobic “I Am A Girlfriend.” Overall, though, it’s a fast and fun romp/lope.
Critics' Rating: 3.5 out of 5 Stars.
Wolf-Face opens for Off With Their Heads tonight at Orpheum in Ybor City (with The Slow Death and Mosquito Teeth, 7 p.m., $6-$13, all ages), then heads to Austin to play Peelander-Z's (non-official) SXSW event, Peelander-Fest 2014.