Howe – Bolt from the Blue (Album Review)
You don’t listen to Bolt from the Blue you discover it. You come across it as a lonely traveller hearing solemn and soothing notes winding their way down an enticing path. As you get closer the track grows, gradually but with a deliberate pace confident in its own ability to find is sought after destination. Then, inevitably, triumphant guitar riffs hit the track like an epiphany, a eureka moment crowned in a distorted glory. They are a declaration of arrival, a report of mission accomplished and the moment you finally find the reason you trod that path to follow that sound to the source.
The next track announces itself with a Radiohead like melody rich in reflective melancholy and soaked in regret. It’s a deceptively simple tune that talks of lost loves and mistakes made, you can practically see the singer with his head hunched, his hands deep in his pockets, shuffling his feet along as he daydreams of being a better person. It has a second act surrealist turn that exposes the bands Ska influences and willingness to experiment with structure and sound.
The final track is almost a show piece, a guitarist’s dissertation that would be dismissed as disgracefully indulgent if it wasn’t so good. This is the kind of music you lay back and relax to, you close your eyes, tilt your head back and the guy with the pick do all the work.
A Bolt from the Blue may be short, but there is enough depth here to whet the appetite for future interest. The musicianship holds promise and the sognwriting is varied and interesting. It’s gonna be good to see if they can develop on the ideas they’ve introduced here. I get the feeling they’ve got plenty more where that came from.