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Howlin' Rain - Howlin' Rain

  by Andrew Carver

published: 18 / 7 / 2006

Howlin' Rain - Howlin' Rain
Label: Select Label
Format: CD


Psyschedelic good time debut album from Howlin' Rain, the side project of Comets on Fire front man Ethan Miller and Sunburned Hand of the Man drummer Jon Molony

Howlin’ Rain is the merger of Comets on Fire front man Ethan Miller, Sunburned Hand of the Man drummer Jon Molony and pal Ian Gradek on bass and banjo, and sounds like it. If David Crosby had asked Blue Cheer to help him record ‘If I Could Only Remember My Name’ instead of the collection of Laurel Canyon habituees, it might have sounded something like Howlin’ Rain's self-titled debut. More easygoing than the blowout psych of Comets on Fire and more structured than the Sunburned Hand’s New Weird Americana, it links the former band’s sonic palette with the latter’s accomplished rhythms. Miller’s throaty howl and groovy wah wah guitar dominates opening track ‘Death Prayer in Heaven’s Orchard’ while Molony’s nimble drumming sets an easy pace. ‘Calling Lightning With a Scythe’ takes a turn for the acoustic with Grandek switching to banjo and Miller adding wobbly licks on a heavily tremeloed guitar. Group vocals on the choruses give the tune an old-time feel. At least up until the midway point where a massive jolt of distorted feedback rises from the depths. It never quite overwhelms the song’s jaunty melody, but the jet engine racket will undoubtedly please fans of Comets on Fire’s more outrageous moments. ‘Roll on The Rusted Days’ opens with a laidback riff of the sort that could have sprung from the mind of George Harrison in the Beatles’ later days before incorporating some tweeting horns and the elastic guitar so familiar from the Comets’ discography. It all ends in a ramshackle, crash-and-bang breakdown. One can imagine the Howlin Rain’s ending their set with it, accompanied by some judicious instrument tipping and drum kit demolition. Among the album’s high points are the extended bongo-driven coda to ‘The Hanging Heart’, and the loping bass and squawking choruses of ‘Indians, Whores and Spanish Men of God’. ‘Howlin Rain’ will undoubtedly be snapped up by Comets on Fire and Sunburned Hand of the Man fans, and should also be of interest to anyone who fancied the records of Suntanama or Royal Trux’s hazier moments.

Track Listing:-
1 Death Prayer In Heaven's Orchard
2 Calling Lighting With A Scythe
3 Roll On The Rusted Days
4 The Hanging Heart
5 Show Buisness
6 Indians, Whores And Spanish Men Of God
7 In Sand And Dirt
8 The Firing Of The Midnight Rain

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