A band from Sardinia called King Howl, first came to my attention when my early blues radar picked up on an EP released in 2010 featuring a cover of my favourite old blues man, Son House. Their version of Death Letter was good enough to ensure that I followed their work over the next two albums, as they mixed the odd cover with original songs drawing on the great blues of old while fusing it with classic rock, stoner rock and even a hint of funk and punk for good measure.
They now have a new album out which again uses blues as a base, adding, in their words, “stoner, psychedelia, and classic rock that paints the soundscape of an on-the-road story set in 1960s America.”
They repay my belief from the outset with the raucous, rockabilly, rock ’n’ roll blues of ‘The Rooster’ which has rough riffs, slinky slides and is a brand new slice of nostalgia. ‘From The Cradle’ hits the blues base button again with hints of Blue Cheer as the slide guitar phrases add texture to the psyche blues feel; ‘The Train’ keeps that atmosphere with a Stones-y bent.
In another life, if the Beach Boys were a bit more bluesy, psyche-y and heavy, then ‘Motorsound’ could have been the result and ‘Slowly Coming Down’ is unsurprising, slow, blues-drenched rock; ‘Jupiter’, with its bass intro and noir soundtrack feel is sheer quality. They even manage to bring something new to their version of ‘Gimme Shelter’ as they preserve the Mick ’n’ Keef feel while adding their own nuances.
They do save the best ’til last as the fuzzed blues of the closing track ‘Home’ combines a sort of Trower-like construct with a Creamy topping.
If you like heavy, blues-based rock with that late 60s/early 70s grounding then you will absolutely love this album. King Howl has achieved what few current bands have and that is a masterful reinterpretation of the blues and classic rock but always maintaining originality.
Homecoming is out on 9th June via Electric Valley Records