Providing some blues rock liquor to re-invigorate sometimes complacent ears, Scottish trio The Howling Lords signed off November with the release of Texas Medicine. The band’s second album, it provides a captivating rumble and grumble of dirty blues bred tracks which plenty of blues and heavy rock fans should find an instinctive taste for.
Hailing from Isle of Lewis, The Howling Lords emerged late 2015 and within a handful of months lured keen ears with debut single Bad For Me. Just as eager attention and praise followed with a busy 2017 seeing the release of their self-titled debut album and the Dead Letters EP, the latter seeing the band’s sound further defined in craft and individuality which Texas Medicine now fully embraces.
From the first tease of opener Looking At Me, the album is a boozy tantalising of ears mixing the familiar with the band’s own fresh invention. The first track writhes with the intoxicated swings of a temptress, the guitar of vocalist Felix Saunders shaping its melodic inebriation as the heavy rhythmic stroll of bassist Jens Johansen shares its swagger to the crisp beats of Eoghainn Lapsley.
It is a potent start swiftly matched and indeed eclipsed by the contagious prowl of Black Dog. For two and a half minutes it as good as stalks the listener but with an invitation to its welcoming lair in every groove, vocal tempting, and rhythmic incitement.
As tracks reveal their individual prowess with garage/blues rock nurtured sounds there is no escaping thoughts of bands such as The Black Keys, Black Pistol Fire and indeed a heavily set Creedence Clearwater Revival; flavours which entice as much as The Howling Lords own raw and dirt encrusted breeding. That feral aspect is a prime essence of the excellent Moves To Keep Me, a punk blues roar which swiftly got under the skin.
Through the likes of the calmer whisky blooded Talk Like That and Green Dress with its rock ‘n’ roll ruggedness, band and album only tightened their hold on attention while subsequent tracks such as the sonically baying Howling At the Moon and the salacious She Devil brought further shots of temptation the way of ears and enjoyment.
For us it is fair to say that Texas Medicine needed a few plays for tracks to truly expose their richness and emerging individuality but more because of our less instinctive appetite for blues rock compared to other genres but with every listen came fresh pleasure as the final trio of Still Waters, Soul To Sell, and God On The Stairs proved. All three made for a firmly enticing proposition but grew by the listen, the first through its almost invasive weight and incisive grooving and its successor with melodic flames which erupt from a perpetual white hot smoulder to singe the senses.
The final track of the free is a melody bred ballad revealing another hue to the band’s creativity and sound; a track epitomising the magnetic touch of the band’s music. It completes an album which from a good impression has blossomed into one highly enjoyable and easy to return to offering.
Texas Medicine is out via all platforms on 30th November.
Pete RingMaster 30/11/2018
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