Houndmouth - From The Hills Below The City

More addictive than freebase, but better for you

This debut album from Illinois
four-piece Houndmouth
already seems destined for
album-of-the-year awards. It’s
certainly the best down-to-earth
storytelling item to
emerge in ages.

Matt Myers, whose guitar
playing is spellbinding, Katie
Toupin, who sings like
a dirty angel, Zak Appleby
and Shane Cody, who lock
the rhythm box-tight, are
steeped in the right stuff.
Their songs are right out of
the Grateful Dead-meets-Kris
Kristofferson hinterland,
where drug deals and crap
jobs go disastrously wrong;
pills and crack are involved;
appointments and trains
are missed with bad
consequences; and everyone
gets home in a pretty poor
state but lives to fight
another day.

Not that it’s old-school.
There are wrinkles and tickles
of Marc Bolan and The Essex
Green about; gloriously
on-trend harmonies; and
lyrics of genuine wit and
intensity. The 12 tracks form
a persuasive whole, building
to a crescendo from the
opening down-and-sinking
feeling of On The Road to the
spread-eagling ballad
Palmyra. On the way stops at
Casino (Bad Things) and
Houston Train are compelling
diversions. The singing, too,
is superb; Myers and Toupin
are stars in that department.

What’s not to like?
Nothing. It’s all sublime.
 

5 stars 5 stars 5 stars 5 stars 5 stars

Rough Trade | RTRADCD 662 (CD / LP)

Reviewed by Max Bell
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