At first listen, London’s Cowbell doesn’t sound the slightest bit English; they sound like they come from the deep South, with their stripped down but watertight guitar-and drums combination – they don’t sound sparse or empty at all, which is no easy feat. On this new album, their third, Haunted Heart, they explore several different styles of American music. Jack Sandham and Wednesday Lyle, two British students of American roots music are, indeed, very eager to share their 21st Century synthesis of the music that earlier influenced Alexis Korner, The Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin.
Understand, this is a definite major leap forward for a band that keeps it down to a minimum which is why this album is so impressive. “Nothing But Trouble” is a classic ’60’s garage rocker with great backing harmonies and vocals, handclaps, reedy organ and as catchy as can be; “Neon Blue” has a swampy, blues-y groove and Mr. Sandham’s vocals are smooth as the backing harmonies are dynamic and “What Am I Supposed To Do?” is a tight, very low-fi rocker with on-point harmonies (the vocal chemistry is so good between Mr. Sandham and Ms. Lyle) – and listen for that keyboard solo… “Doom Train” gallops along like all good modern blues riff-driven pieces; “No Wrong” is a slow, piano-based, gospel-tinged moment of sweet melancholia and “None Of Your Business” is one of my favorites of this collection, with its tight, spy-like vibe and ’60’s feel.
There have been only a handful of guitar/drums combos that have made their mark on me – the last one would be Flat Duo Jets, but Cowbell has that something special that makes me want to hear more. As it’s been said, Haunted Heart has more fuzz, more fizz, more greasy foot-beating, party-greeting, soul treating music and I would agree.
Haunted Heart will be released on Friday, June 2nd, 2017