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Hognose | El Sombrero | review | rock | Lollipop
¡El Sombrero! (Arclight)
By Craif Regala
¡El Sombrero! lands a second gut punch after the first album, Long Handle, poked yer soft white underbelly. It's the same brand of stompy, rompy, bluesy, grimy, greasy, pretty, gritty, hollar-for-a shot, howl-at-the-moon classic bad-ass rock action Hognose showed on the first record and've sprinkled on stages hither and yon. Apparently, there'll be sprinkling galore as they hit the tar and roll outta town. So see this stuff in its natural habitat. Much of what these guys (and the Arclight stable) do is rework the real good parts of rock/rock and roll that were forgotten or buried due to horrible commercial/social/aesthetic reasons in the '80s. It's kinda like getting in the way-back machine and getting things right and taking 'em forward. No mere revisionism here. Hell, "Huntin' Rake" cops some classic Alice Cooper drum voodoo and takes it to metal Valhalla. Remember; Johhny Winter died for your sins: Luckily you can pay it back in beers at the Hognose show. Whew! That was close! See? You too can be saved.
One of the things I like about these guys (and many of their Southern brethren) is their ability to do pretty, bluesy material without waving their hands in the air and demanding you notice how "sensitive" they are. Alabama Thunderpussy, Beaten Back To Pure, COC, 60 Watt Shamen, Mezzanine, hell, even Weedeater have done so, proving their innate humanity. Like the Chuck Berry song that goes "When it hurts you, it hurts me, too." Check the cover of Pink Floyd's "Breathe" for cross-pollinated proof, 'kay? Just by doing it and it sounding so natural in these surroundings, you realize the blues are the blues; reworked, mutated, and redone. May the circle be unbroken.
When in the mood, they lay back and brood on what the hell's goin' on. By relaxing the tempos and lagging the beat, they'll slowly and surely suck you into their world. Then drop some chugga-chugga riff rock to move things along. The lead work is strong and melodic, never losing focus of going somewhere. For whiskey, perhaps, or to buy a mint copy of ZZ Top's Tres Hombres, but always somewhere sensible. The recording and tones are great, lofting the music from smokey bar to your living room in a one deep breath. Once again, another Arclight release with a powerfully musical rhythm section, supportive and tactilely inventive. Just check out "Muffin." It starts off like classic delicate Hendrix/Trower, arcs into full-bodied warm psychedelic rock built from the red clay of The Dixie Dregs and Allman Brothers, and finishes out like like a fine wine-fed European/British stoner rock. Fucking ace.