Album: Beware Wolves Volume 10 by Beware Wolves

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The return of Beware Wolves is a most welcome one. A return of one of Americana’s most unforgettable new names who have managed to release 9 albums during just last summer. His releases were cryptic and the effect they had was sensational. With imagery of howling wolves, moon phases, and symbolic arrangement of music with the albums that spelt confidence in his consistent quality, his previous 9 volumes received extensive coverage on Sistra, you could say that we could not get enough. 

Beware Wolves‘ conclusion to his anthology comes via an album that runs a little like a double album, clocking in at a whole hour, double his average album lengths, but we’re glad to report that the quality returns, and with it, the confidence. 

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The last batch of Beware Wolves folk tunes comes devoid of lunar symbolism, bringing the tally up to 101 songs released within the matter of months. The music is still stellar and personal. Beware Wolves’ style depends on a few main elements. An acoustic guitar, strummed or fingerpicked, sometimes with a staccato, percussive style, at other times, chill, and intricately arranged to back up the vocals, which also often feature haunting vocal harmonies that manage to continually spice up the sparse arrangements and never fail to add depth to the sound. The songs of 10th volume might be left overs that did not make to the previous albums, they might be the songs the artist deemed were the best so he left them for a separate release, the reasoning is not disclosed, but I deduce that all the 101 songs were recorded in roughly the same span of time and using similar technology, which makes the sound of the 10th volume just as skeletal and as intimate as all the previous ones, adding score points to cohesion. 

Standouts on the 10th volume include ‘Harvest’, an expansive acoustic arrangement with a devastating harmonica part and a modal composition that brings Beware Wolves’s fantastic vocal delivery, main and harmony, to the magical, dreamy world of Lydian tonality. ‘Harvest’ is dynamic and flowing, like a rushing river. ‘Over The Wall’ features a gentle acoustic guitar composition that I found to be lilting and hypnotic, especially with the vocals that jump from low and conversational tones suddenly to high, yearning calls. A charming, simple, and short piece of music. At the tail of this album you’ll find two haunting songs. ‘Worth Repeating’ has a fuller arrangement with a gentle synthesizer, a gentle piece of vocal harmony, and a multi-faceted composition that features surprising twists that make this piece one of the more memorable songs in Beware Wolves’s entire arrangement. One can also not be stirred by this song’s placement, 2 songs from the end of the anthology and by its title which beckons listeners to repeat this whole journey from the very top. And in a massive breach of Beware Wolves law, the alphabetic arrangement is broken in favor of placing the romantic and sweet ‘Good Bye’ at the very end of the album. 

Wether Beware Wolves will be returning will more music in the future is, just like every other thing about the artist, open for speculation. But we will revel in the fact that we have a gleaming anthology of 100+ songs from Beware Wolves, with something in there for nearly every one. It is cause for celebration, and we will celebrate by taking his 10th and final volume for more and more spins in the days to come.