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Howlin Rain EP: Ethan Miller Plays it Safe

Posted by January 9th, 2011 No Comments »

Howlin RainThe Good Life EP
American Recordings
By Ben Allen 

With three songs clocking in at over eighteen minutes, The Good Life serves as a preview to Howlin Rain’s upcoming Rick Rubin-produced album and an outlet for a band that has spent nearly two years in meticulous pre-production. All tracking was completed live in one evening, and the record was mastered and finished in less than a week and half.

Opening track “Good Life” safely cruises along in a mid-tempo groove, sounding like a more inspired version of the Black Crowes. Ethan Miller belts out the lead vocal with such passion and conviction it saves the track from being forgettable.

Next up is an interesting, quiet, yet funky take on the Jimi Hendrix tune “Burning of the Midnight Lamp.” The album finishes strong with passionate ballad “Hung out in the Rain,” featuring subtle piano and a chorus with strong vocal harmonies.

While the tracks shed some light into what we can expect from their next album, Howlin Rain, and Miller in particular, have delivered more compelling recordings in the past. There’s no chaotic, overpowering guitar solo (see “Calling Lighting with a Scythe” from the band’s eponymous debut) or brutal noise destruction (see Comets on Fire’s Blue Cathedral album) that previously made Miller’s songwriting so intriguing. If I had to sum the EP up in one word, it would be “safe.” – (6/10)

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