Thursday, March 6, 2008

Album Review - Howlin' Rain

Howlin’ Rain – Magnificent Fiend
[Birdman Records; 4/03/2008]

Yet another musician that is productive in the sense of dealing out shiny discs, Ethan Miller establishes firm continuity with the second album from his side project, Howlin’ Rain.

Unlike the neo-psychedelic sounds of Comets On Fire, Miller has dropped a gear - or two - with “Magnificent Fiend”, the ‘Rain’s second opus. Those wailing vocal howls do unleash themselves every now and then throughout the album (none better than ‘El Rey’), but unlike the caterwauls of noise that make Comets On Fire such an ear-splitting adventure, country-esque bass lines and hair-blowing-in-the-breeze guitar riffs predominately fill up the contents of “Magnificent Fiend”.

It’s like Miller concept of Howlin’ Rain is the comedown effect. A nice chilling listen that would be best summed up as Miller’s adaptation of rock ‘n’ roll. When musicians – particularly frontmen - partake in side projects, most of the time there’s very little difference between their primary and secondary focus, but the feeling is different for Miller, who segregates his respective musical adventures quite well.

If you’re into your long drives along the coast-line, then “Magnificent Fiend” is the first record you’ll listen to once that sea breeze enters the nasal cavity. You couldn’t say that about Comets On Fire and visa versa.

By Simon

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