Justin Howl – Things to Do
The greatest compliment I can pay Mr Justin Howl, and I assure you this is not a back-handed one, is that his music sounds like the soundtrack to a cartoon of which he could be the star. After all, the truly great personalities in rock n’ roll, as well as other styles that heavily utilize guitars, are the ones that can be recognized from a basic sketch alone. Real-life cartoon characters like the Ramones, or Motorhead are some of the most memorable personalities in rock’s colourful history.
“Things to do” with its funny, off-kilter listing of activities to which Mr Howl needs to attend, sound purposely written for a comedy-hour about the songwriter’s life.
The artist does have several other aces up his sleeve. The music, with its guitar, harmonica and drums that sound like spoons being hit against each other, is produced sharp and cleanly. Howl saves up some convincing delta-blues for the chorus.
It sounds not just like a man banging out a blues number on an acoustic. It sounds like a man that’s aware of the long-game.
Luca Wilding – Master
Lucas Wilding sounds like he’s been living for a while with his gift for poetry and that it has taken its toll. From the opening acoustic guitar of Master to the final seconds of feedback, this resembles the work of a man that doesn’t have much choice about writing this kind of music.
On the one hand, as a music critic, it’s refreshing to hear someone who is likely not acting a part in the way most modern sensitive troubadours seem to do this day. On the other hand, this must be a frightening gift to have.
Master is a song about a gloriously beautiful downfall. It plays out like the soundtrack to a hero’s loss of everything. Wilding’s lyrics and vocals sound well-studied, while the instrumentation adds colour and perspective to the artist’s vision.