Thursday 29 April 2021

Jack Harlon & The Dead Crows - The Magnetic Ridge (Album Review)

Release Date: 17th May 2021. Record Label: Psychedelic Salad Records (Vinyl) / Forbidden Place Records (CD/Cassette). Format:CD/DD/Vinyl/Cassette

The Magnetic Ridge - Tracklisting

The Tale Of
The Magnetic Ridge
De La Luna
Rat Poisoning
Dream Sequence 1
Dream Sequence 2
The Painter In The Woods
Absolved Pt 1
Absolved Pt 2
Black Road


Aussie Psych Doom/Stoner Rockers Jack Harlon & The Dead Crows make a welcome return with their new album The Magnetic Ridge. Coming 3 years after their acclaimed debut album In Hymns, this album sees the band expand their gloomy style of music. The band play a different style of Psych Rock, Doom and Stoner Rock with a slight “Americana” and Experimental edge to their psyche.

The Magnetic Ridge features 12 songs that perhaps carry on the story of the enigmatic and drug addicted outlaw who featured on the first album. The album is perhaps best described Neil Young making a Doom based “Outlaw Rock” record. The lyrics are quite earnest and self reflecting from beginning to end though helped along by a ton of cool heavy sounds. If you’re a fan of EARTH and Across Tundrass then Jack Harlon & The Dead Crows aim for that similar atmosphere and environment those bands are known for.

Opening song - The Tale Of - is a cautionary tale of villains and outlaws with the band playing a slow-paced style of Americanca and Stoner Rock. The music is cautiously slow and only offers a brief amount of heavy grooves towards the end of the song but they give this song a much needed boost in confidence and supreme Stoner Rock heaviness.

Second song - The Magnetic Ridge - sees the band get straight down to business in playing spaced out and psychedelic noises matched against distorted heavy guitars with an eerie outlook. The atmosphere is bleak but the music is extremely creative and powerful with a subtle Blues Rock riff coming out of nowhere. There are many layers to this song which give an “All Them Witches” influence appearing on the vocals and how the band deliver the excellent story but still remaining true to their own creative powers.

Third song - De La Luna - is an almost 90 second instrumental song offering a cool Desert/Stoner Rock experience with a “Shamanic” feel to it all. An excellent little number that provides an eerie and unsettling approach to the album.

Fourth song - Rat Poisoning - offers the trippiest and perhaps best song on the record. The band runs wild with their creative ideas on this song. Warped psychedelic noises, beautifully played Blues Rock grooves and a lo-fi Doom/Stoner Rock atmospheric backdrop all build up to quite a surreal song that the band always excel at. The heavy guitars are quite forceful and the sound effects build upto an experimental style of Stoner Rock.

Jack Harlon & The Dead Crows go weirder, wilder and even bolder on the later stages of the album with songs such as: Langoiler, Stray, The Panther In The Woods, Absolved Pt 1, Absolved Pt 2 and Black Road allowing the band the opportunity to further expand their great blend of Psychedelic Doom/Stoner Rock with a warped sense of Trippy Paranoia being used within the bleak lyrics and heavier moments of the record.

This album to myself personally is the record that All Them Witches should have made for their last album. Though, this is still a Jack Harlon & The Dead Crows record and I admire the bold creative choices they made for this album. This all builds upto a beautifully surreal and heavy sonic experience that improves on every aspect of their debut album.

The Magnetic Ridge is a wonderful album and will no doubt be counted as one of 2021’s best Doom/Stoner Rock albums when the year is out.

Words by Steve Howe

Thanks to Your Mate Bookings and Psychedelic Salad Records for the promo.

The Magnetic Ridge will be available to buy on Vinyl through Psychedelic Salad Records and CD/Cassette through Forbidden Place Records. The album will be out on May 17th 2021 with Pre-Orders going live from May 10th 2021.


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