Howlin' Rain - Alligator Bride

Hailing from Oakland, California Howlin Rain are led by singer/guitarist Ethan Miller and they promise ‘high energy, good-times adventure music’ that’s ‘fuzzy around the edges’. It’s clear from the outset that Alligator Bride is the product of a group having fun and cutting loose, whilst making a straight-up, guitar-heavy, rock’n’roll record.

Strap yourself in as opener ‘Rainbow Trout’ starts off with a hint of ‘Midnight Rambler’, before shifting into a 70s era ZZ-Top boogie - and does that chorus have a hint of KISS? It's quite a ride, and by the time it comes to a halt in a squeal of feedback the adrenaline rush leaves the question, what’s next?

Although it begins with a clamour of squalling guitars, ‘Missouri’ is driven along by an omnipresent bass guitar and a big chorus that carries it through to its enthralling climactic ending - a three-way tussle between lead guitar, bass and drums – you pick a winner. Ironically, there's time to take a slight breather in ‘Speed’, but it's a false dawn, as the whole thing explodes into life with a dramatic finale. A similar card is played on ‘The Wild Boys’, which at eight minutes long is the centrepiece; a southern rock/blues odyssey that is epic in feel and grandiose in scope. It may not quite hit home, but the trip is a fun one.

Much more satisfying is the title track itself. Sure, ‘Alligator Bride’ tips its hat to Neil Young and Crazy Horse, but if you're making a record that celebrates all that is good in rock music, then it's impossible not to. Miller’s vocals are at their rawest and the song delivers the strongest emotional punch on the album – all wrapped up in driving guitars and an infectious tune.

By way of the quietest moment on the album, ‘In The Evening’ , it all comes to an end in fitting style, on eight-minute closer, 'Coming Down'. A full-on rollicking road-trip through a variety of influences, Alligator Bride manages to hit the sweet spot more often than not and bristles with energy; the sound of a band having an absolute blast.

Review by Jeremy Verrall

Overall

Join Howlin Rain for an enjoyable road trip via some of the key touchstones of blues/rock music.

7

out of 10

We need your help

Running a website like The Digital Fix - especially one with over 20 years of content and an active community - costs lots of money and we need your help. As advertising income for independent sites continues to contract we are looking at other ways of supporting the site hosting and paying for content.

You can help us by using the links on The Digital Fix to buy your films, games and music and we ask that you try to avoid blocking our ads if you can. You can also help directly for just a few pennies per day via our Patreon - and you can even pay to have ads removed from the site entirely.

Click here to find out more about our Patreon and how you can help us.

Did you enjoy the article above? If so please help us by sharing it to your social networks with the buttons below...

Tags
Category review