GUYS! Guys. The Howling Tongues released their new album BOO HISS on Tuesday and boy, have I got a review comin’ at you full speed ahead.
As per usual, you can expect heavy rock’n’roll tones, rebellious lyrics and driving-to-work dance parties. However, this album has a new uniqueness to it. There may be hints of Jack White circa The White Stripes and Pink Floyd’s spacey influence, but one thing is truly certain: this album is fully The Howling Tongues.
The rock’n’roll album you’ve been waiting for starts off with an anthem called “Raw Power in a Red Dress.” With gritty guitar tones, quick organ sweeps and a loud 1-2-3-4 count-off, the song is a perfect fit to start off the BOO HISS experience. “Raw power in a red dress. Her legs get it started but her hips do the rest” is the perfect frame for such a dance-fueled song.
The fast paced energy holds on tight in “The Shakes,” their single, “Vivian” and “Alone.” Davey Rockett reveals his bluesy and soulful voice while the band creates the perfect pocket of unifying melodies and punchy drum beats. The hook, “I’m addicted to ya, baby. I need to medicate, I’ve got the shakes” quickly induces dancing and singing along. “Vivian” and “Alone” follow suit in what continues to encourage gyrating dance moves to solid power chords and electrifying hooks. Find my review of “Vivian” here.
The Tongues somewhat slow it down for “Belladonna.” This song is definitely a favorite of mine, but then again, I’m a sucker for a piano-lead power ballad. Thomas Wainwright starts the song off soft and sweet with angel-like piano fills. After a few bars, the song takes off with the entire band and a sort of slow bounce coming from Nick Magliochetti on guitar. The verse is pure ambiance, and then the chorus kicks in with a thicker and grittier sound. The chord progression builds up to the end of the chorus and then drops to concentrate back on to the piano and the original sweet melody. A second hook that starts off with piano and guitar playing against each other completes the bridge of this musical genius. With the addition of drums by Tylor James, and the eventual fill of bass by Brandon Witcher, the whole band comes together with so much emotion to create what I think to be an absolutely intoxicating song.
The album kicks back into high gear with “Greatest Lover Around.” The song starts off with a full band tick and smooth falsetto. After a repeated verse, the song fades into a spacey distortion with the lyric, “You make me sick when you lay it on thick, girl.” This sets off the eruption of the full band back into the chorus and a wave of loud howls from Davey. The chorus repeats and Magliochetti introduces his guitar tones evocative of The White Stripes, however still distinctive of The Tongues.
“Crooked Eyes” is a tune to stomp your feet to. It is full of bounces around the piano, deep and soulful vocal tone, and an unforgettable hook. The bass line and drum pocket come together to work its listeners into a clapping frenzy. If you’ve been to one of their shows, you know that The Howling Tongues are great at getting the crowd involved and excited; and by the end of “Crooked Eyes,” the inclusion of harmonica and a loud howl of “Crooked Eyes” do just that.
Next comes “Space.” This song gives off this otherworldly vibe illustrated in the name: spacey. The band does a great job of painting pictures with their music and “Space” is a perfect example. Listening to this song, you’ll hear descriptions of atmospheres and gamma rays as well as incredible drum fills and interesting sounds and effects coming from the rest of the band. An abrupt ending leads to the final song, “S.O.S.”
The chorus of this song is shouted like an anthem, “I don’t care anymore.” Rebellion and contempt for conforming are the main points in this song. It is another great song for crowd involvement and chaotic dancing and a beautiful way to end such a powerful album.