Curse of Lono
Submarine Cat Records
Tightly Wrapped, Dark and Cinematic Americana.
Somehow managing to blend the harmonious Twang of the Byrds with the songwriting of Nick Cave, Curse of Lono’s EP came along just at the right time last Autumn; capturing the gloomy zeitgeist that was all pervading at RMHQ just perfectly.
Jump forward six months; and we are still enjoying a good wallow in musical melancholia…..so, bring on the Curse of Lono LP!
The album opens with Five Miles High; an illegitimate step-brother to the Byrds Eight Miles High; with harmonies to you could drink and enough psychedelic Amaricanesque guitar to light up a motorway.
The song is quite deep and mystical; but Felix Bechtolsheimer’s world weary voice draws you in like a siren on the rocks.
While Curse of Lono are only two years old; Bechtolsheimer wrote these songs over a 14 year period; knowing that sooner or later he would find a fitting band and producer to bring them to life.
For a British band, Curse of Lono can make you feel like you are sitting in a Texas saloon bar (Send For the Whisky), lonely Mid-Western Motel (Each Time You Hurt) or perhaps the JFK Airport Lounge (He Takes My Place) with the greatest of ease…..they just ‘get’ America and Americana. The way the narrator describes the minutiae in that latter heartbreaker (He Takes My Place) put Felix up there with the likes of Slaid Cleaves and Otis Gibbs around these here parts.
Apart from Felix Bechtolsheimer’s identifiable voice the main thing that makes Curse of Lono stand out from the crowd of British pretenders is the way they use guitar effects to emphasise the mood of different songs; even making one sound like a pump-organ on Welcome Home.
The perkiest song here, Pick Up The Pieces has the feel of someone like Paul Simon or Don McLean on mogadon…..but don’t let that analogy put you off, because it’s excellent; dark and mysterious certainly but excellent and will stick in your brain for hours afterwards.
While I adore this album for what it is; an actual album two songs particularly stand out; the Country-Blues of Just My Head with it’s opening line “Its hard not to drink like a man/when the ghosts that surround you insist that you can”…..it’s when I hear songs like this that I realise how powerful music can be; but I have yo hark back to a song from that EP that features here and has matured in that year like a fine whisky. London Rain still has a minor Doorsian feel to it but oddly enough hints of the Jam in Down in the Tube Station (After Midnight). The edgy atmosphere Bechtolsheimer and friends conjures up, of the darker side of a fractured relationship that is as frightening as it is figurative.
I fear for the success of SEVERED by Curse of Lono as Summer is just around the corner and this is best listened to late on a windswept rainy evening; but I guess a lot of readers here inhabit that world 12 months a year anyway!
Released April 7th 2017