The second coming of Holy White Hounds11/6/2013
Every band goes through a time of existential crisis. For Holy White Hounds, that time probably came two summers ago, right around the 2012 80/35 Play-In finals. Talking to front man Brenton Dean outside Gas Lamp that afternoon, I got the feeling I was talking to a guy who was about done. Dean was clearly frustrated and didn’t seem to be having much fun.
When a band hits those moments, it either breaks them or it finds its light at the end of the tunnel and comes out the other side. Anyone who’s been paying attention to the local scene this summer will tell you that the Hounds found its way, making 2013 a year of rebirth for the band.
“I think that I just realized that I couldn’t stop doing it,” Dean said.
“I don’t know what changed exactly,” added bassist Ambrose Lupercal, before motioning to Dean, “but this kid got a kick in his ass and started writing kick-ass tunes. Watching him crank out the majority of the LP in a week, it was like, ‘OK, it’s time to strap in and get serious about this.’ So as lame as it sounds — getting inspired by my front man — I watched him get it together, and it’s like, ‘I’ll follow that.’ ”
“I’ve always been in this, but I wasn’t the pilot. I’m the mechanic. I can keep things moving, but I’m not steering the ship.”
Dean’s renewed sense of purpose has stoked the Hounds to new creative heights, which, along with its relationship with producer Brandon Darner, resulted in its latest album, “Oh Mama.” While it might be melodramatic to say that Darner saved Holy White Hounds, it’s perfectly legitimate to say that he professionalized the group.
“I can’t say the band wouldn’t be without (Darner),” Dean said. “But I think we’d look a lot more pathetic without him.”
Nobody’s calling the Hounds pathetic, as a sold-out “Oh Mama” release show reflects. The band has been more selective in its gigs, and the product it’s turning out is tighter and better constructed. Creatively and professionally, they feel like they’ve turned a corner and are doing their best to build upon that.
“I just think we’re a lot more excited to play music now and a lot less eager to please,” Dean said. CV