Ask any artist and they’ll tell you that releasing any body of work at any given moment is a difficult journey. Even more arduous is the road to the unveiling of the highly-anticipated debut album. But when it comes to Melbourne’s Timothy Wolf, one needs to applaud his resolve and tenacity at navigating the crushing mundanity of the COVID-19 pandemic to craft an album that is – to put it lightly – a masterful effort.
It was only early this year, in March of 2021, that Wolf’s debut single, “In Your Arms Again”, made its way into the world. Though Wolf had been a creative for many years prior, it was now that the world was ready to welcome him with titular open arms. Unfortunately, plans to release and promote the record as planned were just as disrupted as the environment in which the album was made.
Recording the album with Dan Frizza at Nick DiDia and Bernard Fanning’s La Cueva Recording studio in Byron Bay, its creation was filled with question marks and uncertainty about what the future may hold. Yet despite this, it provided a sense of healing for Wolf, who explained that many of the songs on the record came from his personal journey of navigating his mental health and rehabilitating the disconnect within personal relationships.
The result is a record that, while made for the live stage, currently has to live outside of that (at least in the meantime). A self-titled release, the album is one that maps the very musical genome of Wolf, offering up introspective soulful blues with a hint of the self-described “I’m ready to boogie”.
Across its eight tracks, it pays homage to legends of yesteryear (and even utilises their instruments, including Bob Dylan’s ’50s mahogany Martin on “Home”, and Bruce Springsteen’s Gibson 335 on “Foreign Throne”), while challenging the traditional songwriting structures, and exploring the ever-changing sonic landscape of the musical world.
Exploring a kaleidoscopic range of genres, sounds, and styles, the record is one that – while undoubtedly joyous to behold – are based around many existential questions we ask, many struggles that we face, and the sort of situations we often encounter.
As Wolf explains, second track “Down” was originally the centrepoint of the record, serving as the “connective tissue” that tied together the record’s lyrical narrative. “It reveals the division in my mind and a sense of feeling lost making decisions and navigating your early 20s,” he explains.
While the likes of “In Your Arms Again”, “Our Tomorrow”, and “Life Is, Better” dip their toes in the pool of positivity, tracks like “Home” focuses on the loss of childhood, and “Foreign Throne” is said to reveal “the heart of loneliness in this album”, as it deals with putting one’s hopes in the wrong places.
Ultimately, both Timothy Wolf and the record that bears his name is one which dives deep within one’s own identity as part of a journey to find one’s place within the world. For Wolf, it was captured during some of the best times of his life, against a backdrop of hardship as it serves as a cathartic body of work.
By his own admission, it’s not a record that captures homogenised songwriting, or is as perfectly crafted as chart-topping pop records, but it’s a document of his own strengths and influences, and it’s one that commands – and deserves – your attention.
Timothy Wolf’s self-titled debut is out now.
Timothy Wolf Album Launch
With special guests Steph Strings & Riley Catherall
Friday, November 12th
Corner Hotel, Melbourne, VIC