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When the music of Charles Howl came our way last summer, it was pretty much advertised as being by a solo artist, and essentially the side project of Proper Ornaments' bassist Charles Howl. Since then this project has become a full four-piece band and they released a new EP just before Christmas. It's from that that 'Garden Train' is taken, and it probably gives a clearer idea of the direction they plan to take with their music. The video a textbook psychedelia promo, with ghostly images overlapping each other, sitting amongst flowers, shots of the sky and the clouds, lots of smoke and altered colouring for the whole thing. The artwork is a snapshot of this, so it begs the question of just where Charles Howl sit amongst the plethora of other bands in this style.
The answer is found in seconds: the bass is heavily distorted, the guitars are so raw and sharp you could probably give yourself a nice clean shave with them, and the overall sound is rugged, dense, coarse and noisy, yet never without melody. You can hear Syd Barrett in here most definitely, but the song is heavier than anything him or early Pink Floyd ever did. We're talking the weightiness of The MC5 and the rabid fuzz of A Place To Bury Strangers. Despite being called 'Garden Train', this isn't flower-powered, summer of love sounds like many are creating. In fact this band perhaps have more in common with someone like The Horrors who have at times combined these very same elements. The bass in the brief organ break is ferocious, and we have a sneaky suspicion that Charles Howl are developing into a force to be reckoned with.
Charles Howl's website
Stream or buy the EP
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