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Album review: Wolfmother, ‘Victorious’

Plenty of bands exhibit a slavish devotion to the style of a bygone era, but the ones worth knowing have always brought something of their own to the mix: wit, personality, shading, glee, anything. On “Victorious,” its fourth album made by its umpteenth lineup, Wolfmother once again lives in thrall of Black Sabbath and the heavy hard-rock boogie of ’70s bands like Foghat, which calls out for either irony or (better yet) chutzpah — qualities the band ignores. It’s foolish to deny, for example, that a roaring thunderer like “The Love That You Give” has the exact primal power it both draws from and shoots for, but it’s too beholden to its forebears to stand on its own. Better is “Best of a Bad Situation,” where chewy electric 12-string lends quasi-rustic tinge even as organ and galvanized vocal harmonies turn Wolfmother into Boston. Mostly, though, “Victorious” simply colors within the lines drawn by others, scratching the itch of those already inclined to seek it out.

MARC HIRSH

ESSENTIAL “Best of a Bad Situation“

Wolfmother is at Paradise Rock Club Feb. 29.

Marc Hirsh can be reached at officialmarc@gmail.com.