Howling Larsons is a new project from Stillwater, Oklahoma based R (Rebecca) Loftiss, from The Gray Field Recordings and the AntiClock Records label, and UK based Alan Trench of Temple Music. Having heard both Gray Field Recordings and Temple Music, I was delighted and not at all surprised to read the promo sheet description of Howling Larsons as, “noveau occult psychedelia full of twists and whispers, a many layered mycelium of psilocybic delights”. Now that’s a tasty characterization that brings a disc to the front of the promo pile. And sure enough, Fool Of Sound And Furry is a mucho cool and varied album, and one that can only be absorbed and digested over multiple spins. I’ll give you the nickel tour of the 12 tracks…
Air opens like some old horror movie, with eerie soundtrack styled music and a creepy narrative about the multiplication and housing patterns of demons. A flute melody keeps cropping up that adds a somewhat Oriental feel, which is an interesting contrast combined with the spectral atmospherics. And the whole thing gets hauntingly psychedelic when the ghostly voices and freaky looped effects kick in. Duane Allman’s Hand starts off with freaky avant Delta Blues performed on a dead windswept planet, soon transitioning to a psychedelically macabre and droningly drugged blend of singing, soundscapes and woodland sound samples. Sunblind consists of strange but hauntingly pleasant drifting ambience, which takes on a more pastoral tone when the acoustic guitar joins in. The acoustic guitar seems to mark a transition because at this point we find ourselves in more song oriented territory.
A Measure is a pleasant wyrd/pagan folk-psych song with spacey electronic embellishments. Cold Winter Sun starts off similar, but then veers into a tribal, acid-psych rock jam. And Then You Are features poetic narration and an odd 60s vibe, conjuring up images of dosed flower children dancing in a field (slow motion of course). Something On Your Mind and Mother Moon are both delicately trippy, lysergic, and sweetly melodic folk-psych songs. Empires and Dominions is a bouncy hippie party song. I like the combination of strumming acoustic guitar, orchestral strings, oddball electronic effects, and well placed dissonance. Fell of Dark is an acid damaged, spaced out, avant-experimental folk-psych stew. And the last two tracks place spoken word narrative amidst interesting and very different musical themes. For Nihil its dark, deep space soundscapes and effects, and for Accidental Being it’s a chaotically controlled mélange of rhythmic machine shop percussion, choral background harmonies and avant-garde chamber jazz.
If you’re still with me and intrigued by what I’ve described then I highly recommend Howling Larsons. Rebecca and Alan take familiar sounds and styles and bring them together in creatively unfamiliar ways, making for a challenging and off the beaten path psychedelic experience. But don’t hesitate because this disc is pressed in a miniscule run of only 50 copies.
For more information you can visit the Howling Larsons web site at: http://www.howlinglarsons.com
The CD is available in the UK from Reverb Worship at: http://www.reverbworship.com and in the US from AntiClock Records at: http://www.anticlock.net
Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz