Dirty blues is a genre one might expect to thrive most heavily within the murky swamps of the Louisiana Bayou, but Scottish trio The Howling Lords provide enough hard-edged, fuzz-infused tones that bring the genre much closer to home. The windswept and salt-blasted Isle of Lewis, (where the band call home) sits on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean; providing a sublime habitat for the raw, gritty, high energy sound encapsulated on Texas Medicine, the follow up to their self-titled debut.
Existing as an outfit since 2015 and releasing their debut in 2017, the as yet unsigned band have conquered venues throughout Scotland and the UK on self-organised tours. All while remaining motivated by an insatiable hunger to perform live and share their unique style of dirty blues with whomever happens to chance.
Establishing themselves with a bluesy-garage rock sound riddled with heavy riffs, there are moments throughout the record that are reminiscent of: Black Keys, Queens of the Stone Age, The Who and Creedence Clearwater Revival, to name a few. The records second track ‘Black Dog’ is a key feature of Texas Medicine, providing eardrums with a groovy bass line, dominating guitar flicks and a beat that hits the soul with its echoes of early Black Keys (The Big Come Up and Rubber Factory) with an even tougher edge.
Rugged blues and stoner rock are two sub genres that walk hand in hand together, relying on similar traits of heavy and gritty riffs. The Howling Lords have adapted this into their new album with tracks ‘Talk Like That’ and ‘Soul to Sell’ which bring a sense of euphoric, encapsulating, slow head banging inspiration most akin to stoner rock legends Clutch.
The high energy ‘Green Dress’ sits perfectly mid album as it paves its way into the latter half of the record, after a distorted opening you’re hit with a blast of power and roughness showing that this band can be as loud and heavy as anyone before them. Clocking in with a play time of just 1:57 it leaves an impression of anticipation; gasping for more from the mid album burner as it slowly fades there is a lingering want of re-ignition.
Texas Medicine is an exceptional balance of genres. It succinctly spans dirty blues, providing a guide for anyone who has recently discovered the genre, or a veteran looking for new blood to sink their fangs into. It’s clear that The Howling Lords are set to become a well-known name within the realms of heavy rock, along with being seasoned tour vets and not tied down to a label, this trio are ones to watch over the next twelve months.