Around two years ago, UK rockers Welcome The Howling Tones offered a thrilling introduction with their first release, a two track single that suggested it was merely the “appetiser for greater incendiary things to come”. It has been a fair time coming but now the Farnborough quartet are poised to release their debut album Green & Blues, and prove all hints and subsequent expectations from that point were right on the money. The eleven track stomp of spicy rock ‘n’ roll is a blaze of that early potential woven into even more crucial and exhilarating blues/stoner bred exploits. Imaginative and impassioned, it is a fiery party for the senses and rebellion for the feet, and proof that Welcome The Howling Tones is indeed an incitement fit to majorly arouse British rock ‘n’ roll.
Formed in 2012, the foursome of guitarists Pauly T and Chris Gilday, drummer Lawrence Arnold, and vocalist/bassist Iain Turner quickly drew strong local attention with their tenacious classic rock bred sound infused with flavoursome strains of blues and alternative rock alongside funk infested grooves and more aggressive textures, a blend impressively fuelling the thick persuasion of Green & Blues. Soon spreading their reputation and music further afield, the band released that earlier mentioned double A-sided pairing of Eyes to Hypnotise and Broken Man, earning broader and acclaiming attention in return whilst live they proceeded over time to shared stages with the likes of Godsized, The Jamie Lenman Band, Nick Oliveri, The Icarus Line, Breed 77 and many more, again to regular high praise.
Green & Blues looks to stir up ears and emotions from the off, taking little time to leap into its feistiest persuasion with opener Deep River Blues. From its first breath the guitars are spinning a tasty web of grooves, their strong coaxing aided by the just as potent and impressing vocal tones of Turner. As it slowly broadens its shoulders and expands its landscape, the song is still teasing with its early enticement, its slim but thickly tempting invitation helping to restrain excess energy even as rhythms and a cloudy atmosphere joins the revelry. Classically toned and spiced with a delta blues hue which only intensifies as the song’s drama brews, the thrilling encounter leaves on a rousing finale of stoner sculpted flames, meaty rhythms, and acidic grooving.
It is a mighty start to the album but quickly eclipsed by both Eyes to Hypnotise and Broken Man. The first of the pair virtually drizzles its initial guitar lure over ears, swiftly awakening attention and appetite in turn. It is a gripping start quickly tightening with the addition of a throaty growl from Turner’s bass and the heady swipes of Arnold’s beats, which subsequently become a mosaic of creative animation as the song grows. The grooves and riffs spilling from the fingers and strings of Pauly T and Gilday are toxic in their addictive nature and tempting, inflaming further a track which in a matter of seconds is as irresistible as it is voraciously creative. The instrumental swagger of the song alone enslaves and with the expressive tones of Turner’s voice powerfully riding their compelling enterprise, it leaves a licking of lips and hunger for more which is easily satisfied by its successor, which also from its first moments has ears and pleasure in a spin. From the first clicking of drum sticks to the tangy grooves, sandy vocals to pulsating beats, the encounter is an inescapable trap which welcomingly imposes further with a siren-esque lure of spice fuelled melodies and stoner grooves. With thrilling spurts of discord and noise seeded imagination for good measure, the rousing stomp is the kind of thing lust was invented for.
There is no let-up of quality and success with Never Said Forever and its drama spilling alternative rock resourcefulness. Amongst many traits which stand out in the band’s sound and songwriting, unpredictability is a potent asset and in full bloom here as the track twists and turns rhythmically and sonically, every move lined with bold adventure and mouth-watering imagination. Carrying a delicious solo for extra flavour, the album’s pinnacle is set down, though rivalled throughout with Burn my Bones a swift contender next. A blues shuffle emerges with Arnold again creating a commanding frame within which a great vocal mix and the most citric flavoured sonic exploit yet on the release plays. It is an enthralling hex swinging and growling with a vintage toning courting modern dark rock prowess.
Honey I Want You NOT Your Money keeps things rocking like a dog in heat, its raucous energy and melodic flames as bracing and incendiary as standing in a lightning storm on a cliff top whilst Fresh Flesh straight after explores a sultry embrace with prowling riffs and thumping rhythms bound in evocative vocals and great sonic tartness. It does not quite have the bite of previous songs but still leaves thoughts and emotions alive especially with its increasingly volatile assets.
The southern rock brewed Dip Me in Mud is another which initially seems to lack the heat of other encounters within the album but over time emerges as a need to return to as often as possible tempting of craft and passion. It is a potency applying to the whole of Green & Blues to be honest and certainly She’s My Kind of Woman with its sweltering climate of blues expression woven in to a nest of grooves recalling the charm of the sixties, mischief of the seventies, and the snarl of the now.
Though not a hell for leather assault on the senses, Green & Blues is a highly charged encounter which never gives the body a rest, its rowdy bouts of balls swinging rock ‘n’ roll through to steamier strolls all providing a constant adrenaline shock to the system. Green God Envy is one of the saltier seductions, it’s swaying body and humid nature temptress like, and just as persuasive and intensive as such a siren before making way for the closing I Can Go Bad. As hoped and expected, the song is a stonking rocker of a proposal to end things up but also as should be assumed, loaded with alternative rock imagination and sparkling creative diversity.
The first Welcome The Howling Tones encounter certainly suggested the band was capable of something as glorious and exciting as Green & Blues but over two years you never know. Well now we do and with one of the most enjoyable propositions anywhere this year, the band confirms themselves as potentially another of those destined to pungently shape the future of the UK rock scene.
Green & Blues is available from on 13th July @ http://welcomethehowlingtones.bandcamp.com/