Monday 9 July 2018

Jack Harlon & The Dead Crows - HYMNS (Album Review)

Release date: July 06th 2018. Label: Self Released. Format: CD/DD/Vinyl

Hymns – Tracklisting

1.Los Plagas 04:12
2.Witchcraft 06:22
3.Ed Parsons 05:23
4.Byroad 03:23
5.Hyperplasia 05:07
6.John Becomes The Universe 06:41
7.Ghoul 04:17
8.No More Bastard Children 07:21


Jack Harlon 3,
Lightning Bolts Richardson
The Ghost Of Ed Parsons
One Giant Pig


I don't know why I thought originally Jack Harlon & The Dead Crows was a name for An Americana or Country & Western band. Then I listened to their new album - Hymns. And boy wasn't I impressed. As these guys are more closely associated with All Them Witches, GEEZER and Black Sabbath. As the music is a mix of Psych, Blues, Stoner Rock, Doom and heavy spaced out sounds. Put this altogether and you have one exciting blend of highly atmospheric rock and roll.

Opening track - Los Plagas - does have a slight Americana feel but that soon gives way to a heavy psychedelic blues rock sound with an intriguing "Sci-fi" premise. The lyrics are way out there at times but it's the music that holds your attention with the band playing a slow-paced sound. Then the whole mood of the album changes for the better with the dramatic "doomed" out sounds of second track - Witchcraft.

This song definitely owes a huge debt of gratitude to Black Sabbath but Jack Harlon & The Dead Crows soon settles down creating their own sound. The swirling psychedelic sounds even have the early swagger of All Them Witches but with a more robust and angrier attitude. The music does veer off into many different directions and maybe to jarring for some but there is a lot of fun to be had with this track.

The lyrics give Jack Harlon & The Dead Crows a decidedly creepy edge and the lyrics are probably one of the albums main strengths. As the band write some great lyrics that cut right to the bone. The music is the main highlight though with Jack Harlon & The Dead Crows never settling on a standard sound. Most of the songs on Hymns sound very different to each other and that's a very hard thing to pull off.

The heavy psychedelic doom atmosphere of the third track Ed Parsons is one of my favourite songs on the album. As the hazy and psychedelic riffs leave you wanting more. The song is very progressive and shows you how Jack Harlon & The Dead Crows is creating a different sound of their own. The production is handled superbly well. With the album flowing naturally and never losing focus.

The second half of the album sees Jack Harlon & The Dead Crows continue with their style of Psychedelic Doom and Spaced Out Stoner Rock on great songs such as: Hyperplasia, John Becomes The Universe and the excellent final song – No More Bastard Children.

Overall, Jack Harlon & The Dead Crows have created an exciting record that actually takes genuine creative risks and it becomes an even more rewarding listening experience as a result. If you're in the mood for a psychedelic and spaced out journey packed full of inventive ideas and heavy riffs then look no further as Jack Harlon & The Dead Crows are the real deal. Hymns is a must have album.

Words by Steve Howe