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Names can sometimes be deceptive. For example, it would be logical to assume that Howlin Rain is a Mississippi Blues veteran intent on trying to breathe life into a much neglected genre, except instead the Ethan Miller-led Howlin Rain stand as an offshoot of one Comets On Fire who, under the guiding hand of celebrated producer Rick Rubin, have crafted an album where the results do not prove as spectacular as one might expect.

Opener ‘Self Made Man’, like the majority of the songs here, conforms to the classically clichéd idea of rock. Reinterpreting a seventies blueprint, the songs swing between Led Zeppelin rock riffs pastiche and Creedence Clearwater Revival-aping, country-tinged Southern-rock dalliances, and thus suffer the same tepid revivalist rock hangover that Audioslave once did. Memorable for all the wrong reasons, this, like the Russian wilderness in winter, is best left alone.

By Nathan Westley

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