Album Review: Hellhound Hellhounds

18 March 2012 | 3:33 pm | Staff Writer

Hellhounds show that retro doesn’t have to be a dirty word.

Hellhounds make no apologies about their love for the blues. However, it can be dangerous for any band to take inspiration so directly from the past. Often the music can sound like a pastiche of former legends, lacking creativity and originality. Hellhounds have managed to steer clear of this dilemma. Their debut, while grounded in the solid foundations of electric blues and '60s psychedelia, brings a fresh sound.

Hellhounds have found an excellent dynamic in their set-up. The rhythm section support singer/guitarist Patch Brown ably. Together they fill out the bottom of Hellhounds' sound, adding weight without losing the crispness of the songs. Patch Brown is a quintessential blues frontman. His voice is surprisingly versatile but is most effective when he is able to explore its full power. The contributions of Michelangelo Russo on harmonica and producer Hugo Race on keyboard add colour to some of the straighter tunes. Race's production is also notable.

The songs stand up to scrutiny, with only a couple falling into homage territory. There is diversity across the 12 tracks with the band adept at switching between slower tracks and the livelier efforts. The subtle psychedelia which creeps into the solos and instrumental endings help to lift the songs above standard blues fair. The album's covers are surprisingly fresh, with the updated version of John Mayall's Witchdoctor joining Lose My Mind as the strongest tracks on the album.

Hellhounds show that retro doesn't have to be a dirty word.

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