The Top 50 Albums of the 2000s – One Wolf

Today I continue a series of posts dedicated to the best albums of the last decade, posting analysis of one album at a time.

30. One Wolf – S/T

Yesterday Daniel Markham released a solo EP of new material, straying far, far away from the alt-folk background of his primary songwriting venture One Wolf. Those of us who have seen the band perform live saw the transformation coming a long time ago. The sound of a One Wolf album and a One Wolf show are two different animals. One is quiet, reticent, calculated. The other is high-energy, eventful, fucking LOUD. As Markham currently makes steps to combine the two with his newer songs, we should step back and dust off his finest creation – One Wolf’s debut album.

Deviating from the straightforward alt-country of previous project Waiting to Derail, Markham, along with drummer Zach Davis and bassist Brad Ivy (Sammi Rana joined the band later), amp up the diverse instrumentation, abstract lyricism, and, most importantly, the power of a simple hook. “Don’t Take It Personal” is a Cobain-esque passive-aggressive ode to shitheads in a redneck bar, many of which One Wolf has reluctantly played in. “H(A)unted” is the album highlight, a lamentation on self-identity. “Roads” is a timeless commentary on lost love and moving forward, strung together with a naturally beautiful melody. Here, underneath all the confusion, we find optimism in Markham’s lyrics, as in the two-stepping affair “Close Your Eyes” and the surreal “Sleeper.”

Keeping to traditional melody, yet remaining progressive in texture, Markham and the rest of One Wolf created the blueprint for how they would approach this album’s sequel, and how Markham currently tackles his newest efforts. Overall, it makes for a remarkable listen, one that cannot be duplicated, and an album only a fool would pass up. Years later, One Wolf’s debut is still Markham’s finest work, and one of the best Hub City creations of the past decade.

Listen to One Wolf on Spotify.

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