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CD REVIEW: BLACK DOG HOWL – Autumn Belles & Bourbon Souls EP

| 23 February 2016 | Reply

CD REVIEW: BLACK DOG HOWL – Autumn Belles & Bourbon Souls EP
September 2015
Reviewed by Shane Pinnegar

Black Dog Howl - Autumn Belles

Denmark is not reknowned for its southern gothic blues rock scene – at least not as far as I know, on the other side of the world – but Black Dog Howl are set to change that way of thinking.

A two-piece made up of singer/guitarist Mazdak Khosravi and drummer/percussionist/singer Signe Møller Rosendal, they sound like they have been worshipping at the altar of bootleg bourbon, and play possessed-by-the-devil blues.

Hands Down Father opens this six-track EP with Khosravi growling like the bastard son of all four horsemen of the apocalypse: it’s disturbingly dark but absolutely mesmerising, an acoustic guitar picking over Iris Marie Jakobsen’s haunting viola.

Sons Of The River resonates again with his throaty tone, rich in gravel and weariness. Khosravi seems to take a slice of the charismatic hypnotic burr of Johnny Cash, and give a solemn nod to the cult of Tom Waits.

The sparse arrangements on this EP perfectly complement the sombre tone of the songs, and even though on the surface Ocean Floor appears more upbeat, with brighter chords chiming and Rosendal’s backing vocal counter-pointing this dark tale of selling one’s soul to the devil and struggling to tear it back, the darkness lurking there is unmistakable.

The duo bounce off each other to great effect: for every bit of light that Rosendal’s vocals let in, Khosravi’s deep darkness rises up to counter immediately, as evidenced on Leave The Bottle and Black Nancy.

Closing track Evil Soul, however, sees Rosendal taking the lead on the first chorus, and we think that maybe there’s some redemption coming from all the dark scowling blues – but rest assured when the twosome sing, “baby I’m evil and now you know, I’ve got an evil, evil soul” it’s an almost joyous moment!

Don’t let the thought of “darkness” in their music put you off: Black Dog Howl’s unique take on old blues is a breath of fresh air.

Category: CD Reviews

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