Should Have Smelt a Rat – The Howlin’ Rats (self released)
The debut album from this Newcastle, Australia, trio is an auspicious one. Its sound harks back to the early ‘70s, and it sits out in the blues rock cosmos like an orphan child of Chain, Blue Cheer and the early Deep Purple.
Unlike the body of work that Chain left behind, it’s light on for the boogie beat. The Howlin’ Rats cook up a main of prog rock-tinged doom with a mild sense of psychedelics-induced foreboding on the side. It’s the blues, Scotty, but probably not as you know it. Someone get them on a bill with Datura4.
The Howlin’ Rats came about from a jam at a 2019 open mic at Hiss & Crackle Records in Newcastle’s Wallsend Delta when nobody else showed up.
The Parade EP – Howlin’ Rats (Hiss and Crackle Records)
Doing anything new with the blues is a tough task. Doing something interesting is another matter. Newcastle, Australia, guitar-harmonica-drums trio The Howlin’ Rats, do just that on their debut five-song EP.
Opener “The Parade” is a harp-fuelled boogie stomp, an instrumental that serves to break the ice without busting any new ground. “MVII” is where things get interesting.
It’s an arcane slow-boiler that’s reminiscent of early ‘70s psych. Hobbit Harry’swinsome harp and a haunted vocal swim against waves of distorted slide guitar while drummer Tom Fairlie sits behind the beat and stirs the pot. It’s six minutes of splendour. Grass is optional.