Aussie rockers Wolfmother built a loyal following in recent years with a no-frills, heavy rock sound that paid distinct homage to Zeppelin and Sabbath. But the band itself seemed less than stable, changing members in revolving-door fashion, the only constant being singer and guitarist Andrew Stockdale. The frontman’s solo debut owes much to Wolfmother’s sound, and with good reason: Keep Moving was originally slated to be Wolfmother’s third album, but when the band imploded early this year, Stockdale decided to release the LP under his own name.
As with his previous band, Stockdale keeps one foot in the past, locked into a ‘70s rock vibe that often pleases. “Meridian” features a powerful guitar riff, buzzing like an angry bee, backed by soaring and melodic vocals. “She’s A Motorhead” is a bluesy, harmonica-fueled stomp played at a breakneck tempo, while “Vicarious” stirs in a funky strut during a catchy chorus. Good stuff, but these moments are not enough to prop up the entire album. Out of the 17 tracks on Keep Moving, maybe half are worthwhile. Stale, derivative rockers are more commonplace, with dopey lyrics and riffs that borrow too closely from other classic tunes, such as the title-track, which copies the riff from Edgar Winter’s “Frankenstein.”
Stockdale goes completely off the rails on “Black Swan,” a bland attempt at jangly folk rock that misses the mark by a mile. A reprise of the title-track, performed with banjo, is also out of place. As Wolfmother’s first two LPs demonstrated, Stockdale is at his best when keeping his ideas concise. Though he also handled the production duties on Keep Moving, what Stockdale really needed was an editor—he would have been better served by cutting the album’s running length and ensuring the tracks he did use were standouts.