SKELETON SOUL – DIGI – OUT NOW, LP/CD OUT 22nd SEPTEMBER 2014
COWBELL are Jack Sandham and Wednesday Lyle.
The duo play garage/soul/rock n roll and write songs that combine a lyrical charm and ease with a sound that’s full-bodied and powerful in spite of their stripped-down set-up. They take their influences from both sides of the Atlantic with a love for both the output of U.S labels such as Stax, Motown and Sun and for British sixties R and B bands such as The Small Faces, The Kinks and The Zombies.
Jack Sandham and Wednesday Lyle have been playing together as Cowbell since late 2009 when they got together for a late night jam session and things took off from there. Three 7” singles followed over the next 18 months and they signed to Damaged Goods in 2012.
After a busy summer of gigging Jack and Wednesday went into Gizzard to work on their debut album ‘Beat Stampede‘.
As well as a handful of their signature garage pop songs the album showcases more diversity, from the down-home country style finger picking of ‘All in Good Time’ to the Delta Slide on the rollicking ‘Tallulah’. It also sees the introduction of Wednesday singing lead vocal on two songs the honky –tonk garage blues of ‘Love Got me Down’ and the ethereal ‘Castle Walls’.
Two years on from their debut album Beat Stampede, which has now been released in the USA on Too Much To Offer records, the rockin’ duo branch out into a more spooky atmospheric sound across the 11 tracks on the new album. There’s a definite dark, New Orleans R&B vibe to Skeleton Soul.
Kicking off with the spaghetti western intro of the album’s opening track, ‘Cry Wolf’ the duo cover plenty of new ground while retaining the urgency and excitement of their earlier work. Though what makes this new album so special is the evocative mood the band created with Ed Deegan at Gizzard Studio. Imagine Dr. John meets the BBC Radiophonic Workshop. The sound is still a stripped down affair, though this time round the drum ‘n’ guitar bones are fleshed out with a few enhancing overdubs such as the Doors-esque spiky psychedelic organ on ‘She’s All Over You’, and some soulful saxophone on the funky, strutting ‘Dirt’.
The band show they’re equally adept at intimate ballads with ‘Darkness In Your Heart’, perhaps the best song Richard Hawley never wrote. Wednesday takes the lead vocal on ‘Heart On The Line’ a track which recalls the cream of ’60s girl singers such as Sandie, Dusty et al. Fans of the group’s earlier sound will not be disappointed either, there’s still the bone-shaking garage blues numbers such as ‘Oh Yolande’ and ‘Baby It’s Your Love’ along with the swampy mambo-blues groove of ‘The Fear’. Imagine a band with the guitar twang of The Cramps over jungle-tribal drums, covering The Zombies and you’re somewhere close.