Words: Simon Opie
Howlin Rain - 'The Good Life' EP (Release: 26 Nov' 10)
This swoops out of the sky like a sparrow hawk, grabs you by the throat and carries you into the clear blue yonder. Title track 'Good Life' is an absolute belter that’s followed by a funky cover of the Jimi Hendrix tune 'Burning Of The Midnight Lamp' before 'Hung Out In The Rain' concludes proceedings with a fried gospel workout. Sounds weird? Well it is, but then Ethan Miller’s side project (alongside Comets On Fire) has never been easy to classify.
The ingredients are fairly simple – rough and ready (but expert) guitar, swirling organ, rock steady rhythm section, occasional horns and a raw tho’ classic American blue collar vocal. But the end result takes retro and fits it with a jet engine that fires it way into the distance.
Both of Howlin Rain’s previous albums, 'Howlin' Rain' and 'Magnificent Fiend' are truly excellent and stake a claim for the band as the future of rock and roll - a sort of amped up, sci-fi Bruce Springsteen. This EP captures that momentum and takes it up a notch, as it’s an exceptionally assured piece of work. To paraphrase no less an authority than Alan Partridge, this is the band that Queens Of The Stone Age could have become.
OK so it’s only three tracks - but it is immediate (all three tracks were recorded in the same evening), vital and eighteen minutes of sheer bliss. There’s a Rick Rubin produced third album following next year and I, for one, can’t wait. In the meantime they are about to tour the UK. Don’t miss them ‘cos in a very few years you’ll be telling everyone who’ll listen how you saw them when they were still playing the clubs.
STREAM: Howlin Rain - Burning Of The Midnight Lamp (Jimi Hendrix Cover)
Tour dates are listed on the Howlin Rain website and the EP can be bought from Amazon.co.uk or iTunes.
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