Friday, August 19, 2022

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Sound Check



‘Oh Mama’


It’s been almost two years since I reviewed Holy White Hounds’ last EP. At the time, the band was loud, fun and rough. Fast forward 20 months, and only one of those things is still universally true. Thankfully, it’s the important one. “Oh Mama,” produced under the steady hand of Brandon Darner (The Envy Corps, Imagine Dragons), is definitely fun. But it’s a more polished, more mature, more accomplished version of the Holy White Hounds. Front man Brenton Dean has never lacked for confidence, but Darner has clearly pushed the band to new places, and the result is really, really good. Opening track “Switchblade” is the most radio-ready the band has ever sounded and shows a band that’s exploring new sounds and doing so confidently, playing with new little touches like vox effects and synth undertones. I’m sold. CV


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cd Neon LushellNeon Lushell

‘No Religion’

Nova Labs

It’s also been almost two years since I reviewed Neon Lushell’s last EP. That experience left me a little flat, as I called it “(an) ‘intro to experimental punk’ version of The Melvins’ 1994 ‘Prick.’ ” In the ensuing year and then some, Lushell has clearly matured beyond the intro version and has fully embraced… whatever it is the band is doing. And that’s the confounding thing about the group: I don’t know if you can call “No Religion” good, because I don’t know what it is. Is it an ambient album, or a piece of avant garde high-art? Whatever definition you settle on, the one thing that’s obvious is the group’s conviction. While “No Religion” can be a confusing experience, there’s not a single piece of it that feels tentative or misplaced. Every sound, every second of the album is placed with clarity of intent, if not clarity of message. CV

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