2020 seemed pretty damn good at first, back when Reignwolf were playing one of their longest shows ever in New York to ring in the new year. The decade started in the middle of their searing set, fans tangled in a gregarious knot around the band on the floor. Jordan Cook’s endless supply of pure-rock energy seemed to foreshadow the tour dates on the horizon (Reignwolf would have played the historic Ryman Auditorium in Nashville tonight). We said we couldn’t wait for more – but now we have to. As we figure out how to cope with the fact that 2020 blows and live music is not in the cards anytime soon, we got the only consolation prize that could make things better right now.
Yesterday, Reignwolf released an addictive new song called “Cabin Fever,” which he recorded in his garage with one mic and a 4-track during quarantine. It even comes with a gritty black-and-white video shot in the same small space, where we find Cook drumming, singing, and digging into his guitar strings destructively. “The thought of the unknown kinda sparked it all,” Cook told P&W. “Setting up in the garage was like my only escape from the other parts of my house. Recording on my 4-track cassette deck with one mic felt like a mission – it came together really quickly.” When we acknowledged the song’s killer guitar part, he revealed, “That was on the first take, so I ran with it. Truthfully, the entire song was like that. A 4-track cassette recorder and one mic is kinda you get what you get…”
His restlessness is palpable as he tears up the confined space, yielding a hard-edged rock song that captures the vibe of our current reality. In the press release, which reassuringly noted that he’s “holed up in his home,” Cook detailed his process. “The song came together quickly and I didn’t want to wait to record it so I used what was available. I dusted off the 4-track, set up a single mic in the garage and went to work. It felt like old times when I used to record in my bedroom before I’d ever gone into a studio. It has this vibe that made it different from anything I’d ever done. There’s a lot of tension out there and that’s baked right into the song. We’re living in the unknown right now. I don’t know when we’ll hit the road again, but here’s a little something for our friends with cabin fever.”
As a barefoot wölf steps into the frame, you can hear the last line of the song that hasn’t begun yet; perhaps a subtle nod to how time feels so circuitous when trapped inside. “…Stars in the night coming out again / I go insane / Insane, insane, insane / Wait for tomorrow to be yesterday…” he sings softly, simultaneously shaving the side of his head. He stops and faces the camera with a wild expression – one that, coming from Cook, usually signals imminent shredding. Light slowly pours into the space as his garage door rises, illuminating drums, cords, and a grimy puddle. We can see him rocking back and forth in a frenetic mood behind the set, just before he breaks out a beat that is both barbaric and scrupulous. As one Jordan drums and bangs his head, another Jordan readies his guitar and mic; the footage is spliced together so quickly, it almost looks like he’s formed a two-man band with his clone.
Timed out with his first loud sounds on guitar, Cook’s words hit the wall like daggers: “Operator / Communicator / Call me on my cell phone / Cabin Fever / Gonna need ya / Keep it on the down low.” The video cuts to close-ups of that familiar fire in his gaze as he advises, “Close your eyes / Stay inside / Try and picture a rainbow.” It looks like he’s wielding a vintage Gibson Firebird (keep me honest, gear experts), and you can see a wolf sketched on the pickguard at the 00:48 mark. The tones he achieves with it are the audio equivalent of lightning in a hurricane. “Uncertain time / Uncertain mind / Been living behind your shadow / Rain or shine / Butterflies in the wind / Stars in the night coming out again.”
Just like in last year’s satisfying debut album, Hear Me Out, his lyrics have a pulse of their own and paint a clear picture of complex feelings. “Sunrise / Hundred miles / Passes you by through the window / Cabin fever / Need to see ya / Throw back to when it was simple / Sacrifice / Normalize / Try and not be too scared crow / Reaching deep / Hide and seek / Counting sheep till tomorrow.” Right after he goes “insane, insane, insane, insane” once again, his live-show withdrawals boil over in the form of a scorching guitar solo. It’s vicious and multifaceted, so much so that it nearly feels live. Cook even finds a way to make a climb and jump back down like he would on a stage. That moment is one of many that makes you scream at your screen as if you’re part of a crowd – an experience that will surely happen again. And it’s much easier to “wait for tomorrow to be yesterday” when fresh music from Reignwolf is part of the deal.
Article: Olivia Isenhart