The Howlers hail from the south coast of NSW – and are a band you need to keep on your rock ‘n’ roll radar. With their rockin’ style of blues/roots rock and an emphasis on swing – Howlers style rock ‘n’ roll holds strong (and broad) appeal for even the most discerning of rock fans – and scores two thumbs up from us here at Rockbrat HQ. The band are out and about and performing live, but by way of introduction, I wanna draw attention to an album they released a few years back now called ‘The Devil In Me’. On display are ten original tunes, heavy on the hooks and melody. That’s important, cos if a tune has no melody / no hook- it ain’t worth a nickel. As evidenced by the calibre of these tunes, the Howlers recognise this too. Testament to the quality of the song writing.
Plenty of high points from an album that is chock full of strong tuneage – opening with the title song ‘Devil In Me’. Total bad-ass blooze with plenty of hook and a strong/clear vocal from main man Larry Millott. Lot of appeal here, and all the right ingredients. Yet this ain’t a one trick blues pony, as there’s a ton of diversity in the tunes too. ‘Born To Love You’ is a total swing/jazz trip – characterized by a prominent horn section and piano. I never like making comparisons, but the Cherry Poppin’ Daddies style of modern swing comes to mind. Similarly, ‘When To Let Go’ also walks the jazz/swing route, whilst ‘One Drink Away’, complete with harmonica, will appeal to any Delta/Mississippi blues purist. Hillbilly Boogie is out ‘n’ out western swing fun. Yet I’m a rock guy – so I love love love a song like ‘Walking On Water’ – full tilt, riff heavy blooze with a dirty hard rockin’ edge. On the high wire without a net and best played loud.
‘She Can Roll’ channels the spirit of Jim Morrison on another down n dirty boogie n blooze extravaganza and is close to the album’s high point for me, but that gong goes to ‘Pretend You Still Love Me Tonight’. Great tune, super catchy, plenty of hooks, and memorable singalong chorus. This one has all the ingredients that make a hit song.
2018 is shaping up to be a big year for the band – who after slogging it out for 15 years are starting to get some long overdue recognition. A new album is expected and the band will be out and about in support of legendary UK blues rock outfit Dr Feelgood on their Australian tour of May 2018. For tour dates and to pick up a copy of the album, head to the band’s website here. You can also keep in touch via Facebook here