Album – Mad Dog Howl – The Coggs

Posted by admin on April 10th, 2008

Every now and again I get an artist, band or management asking if I’d be interested in reviewing their material. Sometimes although listening to a few tracks on MySpace can give me a flavour of what to expect, there’s nothing like listening to an album in full, to really make my mind up. So was the case with this album from the Coggs. I received an email from their manager, asking if I would be interesting in reviewing the bands latest album. While I like what I heard on MySpace, I wasn’t really chomping at the bit, to get the album in. I did however sense there was something about the bands sound that was going to be interesting, so I asked for a copy of the album, which duly arrived about a week later. On a side note, the band are also from Ottawa, so that was another incentive to really give the band a listen, as I really want to get out more this year and listen to some live music.

The first track, “Elevator” didn’t really appeal to me, with it’s rock and blues, infused with an interesting bluegrass inspired electric guitar. It didn’t turn me off, but by the same measure didn’t turn me on either. “A’int it Nice” is a more familiar sounding blues rock and it’s here that the album really starts to come alive. “Hideout” with it’s lengthy intro, seems to draw from many classic 70s/80s rock tunes, but it’s more gentle inspiration rather than blatant rip off.

This album, really has it’s twist and turns and there seem to be surprises everywhere. “Raised by Wolves” is full on, rock and this is where the band really seem to be at their most comfortable. The vocals are a little akin to an angry slur, but it really adds to the raw feel. The title track “Mean Dog Howl”, draws much from the classic blues rock guitarists like Clapton, in his John Mayall / Yardbirds days. It’s an incessant driving force that is hard to stay immobile to.

I love the vibe on “Pissin’ in My Ear” and it is in fact probably my favourite track on the album. It has a much lighter sound and reminds me of the great 90s band, Ocean Colour Scene. This for me, is where I feel most comfortable. While the hard rock tracks are great, I find it hard to relax and listen to them. This is much more melodic side of the band, and I understand that to concentrate on this style would probably drive a wedge down the middle of the band, but it’s just so much less demanding to listen to. “In Your Eyes” again is a more laid back track which further strikes home the point I made earlier.

“Eleven” is another of the tracks that really have that Clapton feel, but here it’s more in his Cream phase, which is certainly a compliment to the bands playing skills. “You Don’t Lie Well” rounds off this 13 track offering and it rounds it off with a bark rather than a whimper.

Conclusion : This is a band that I’d really be interested in seeing perform live. They have that aura of a band that would be quite stellar. I suppose there’s going to be little excuse not to, seeing as they’re virtually on my doorstep. While the heavier tracks would be amazing to listen to live, I feel the calmer, more melodic tracks are more suitable to an album. Again personal taste, but still this is a very well crafted and accomplished album, that showcases the band nicely.

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