‘The Russian Wilds’, by Howlin Rain

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March 24, 2012 by Me and My Monkeys

The Russian Wilds, by Howlin Rain
Producer Rick Rubin has done some great things: Johnny Cash, Neil Diamond…and now Deep Purple.

…and then I realised that ‘Howlin Rain’ isn’t the album but the name of the band. I remembered – with some sadness – that it is 2012 and that I’m not stoned.

From the wailing vocals and guitar of track one (Self Made Man) to the wailing Lordian organ of track two (Phantom in the Valley), Howlin Rain open The Russian Wilds as an exceptional cover band. [Perhaps a ‘Coverdale’ band!] Deep Purple have certainly rediscovered their mojo.

Unfortunately, my first listen to the remainder was predictably informed by just how much the band deviated – or didn’t – from Fireball or Stormbringer.

It was only on my second spin that the cool latin coda of Phantom in the Valley jumped out and ‘called me, called out to me’ that these stoners were at least trying to get their own sound in there somewhere.

With new ears, I found a lot to like: the occasional tough guy falsettos and harmonies, the slick and faithful James Gang cover, even the subtle shift to adult contemporary of Beneath Wild Wings. All this amid a more than decent dose of groovy, hard folk-rock psychadelica. Nothing much wrong with any of that.

And if Wolfmother can do Zeppelin with a straight face, I’m equally happy to suspend judgement and just rock on to these howlin’ trippers. I’ll file them under 1974, and hope they deal with the looming 80s a bit better than their contemporaries.

Recommended? Only to the obvious folk, who’ll know who they are.

Out of 10? 7

My monkeys suggest:

  • Think about a Joe Cocker cover of Plex Reception / Dark Side.

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