Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Freya Wilcox & The Howl - Bareknuckle Love

The front page of Freya Wilcox & the Howls website pronounces the band as ``Cutting Brooklyn Blues-Punk with a road rash howl`` and a pretty damn fine self-assessment that is from a band that, on the evidence of ``Bareknuckle Love``, is kicking maximum ass.

Musically Freya Wilcox & the Howl cover a dynamic range that incorporates elements of Rock, Blues and folk and all entwined with a maverick punk spirit. There is a genuine sense of gleeful chaos that lends itself so wonderfully to the overall thrust and spirit that burns so evidently throughout the EP`s five tracks.

The sound and vibe throughout is magnificently boisterous, but the energy is pure, bristling with a smoky intensity that is born for the barroom.

`Bareknuckle Love` is something of a continuum from Freya`s solo acoustic 2013 EP `Dirt Music` with some tracks from that release being revisited and benefiting greatly from the contributions of bassist Craig Shay and drummer CJ Dunaieff who bring to this release a chunky, assailing texture that builds wonderfully upon its more rustic predecessor.

Calling this band the Howl is a remarkable statement of intent as this is indeed music that howls …It also screams, bites, spits and bristles with an almost unrestrained wildness.

Vocally I have seen Freya Wilcox compared to Janis Joplin, which I feel is a lazy means of categorizing any female singer who stamps their material with a passionate rough-hewn authority. Freya Wilcox is very much an original who`s full-blooded roar is very much of her own character and stamped with a vehement charisma that marks her as a true original.

The only let down with this release for me is that it is too damn short. I have to admit that being a child of the 70`s and 80`s I grew up in an era of the album. With EP`s being the prevailing norm at present I am continually finding the journey is over just as its really taking hold. But that`s just an old man’s lament that I have to learn to take in my stride.

`Bareknuckle Love` is a magnificent display of visceral emotion, evocative lyricism and impassioned performance, centred round a gloriously ramshackle Rock & Roll heartbeat.

Check out The Freya Wilcox and the Howl Bandcamp page:

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