“Larman Clamor is throwing a carnival- more of a street fair, really! You’ll find the sky is tinted a greenish yellow watercolor, the air is tepid and wet with humidity. Bugs come in swarms, and later a parade of children on the backs of reptiles will come out of the swamp and march down the crossroad.”
That’s what the marketing states, and if this is not from the deep South I don’t know what is? Well Hamburg, so not that far South, in fact further North than me! Yet you wouldn’t know it. My geography is not great, but I am not sure Hamburg is not known for it’s swamps and deltas.
Take some JJ & Mofro, and add some rawness as well as something dark, perhaps even ominous (“Been Cookin’” is it a recipe or a spell?), and possibly wear some waders as you are heading into the Dark Bayou. Then you get close to what this one man band project has produced.
The husky vocals, the acoustic guitar, the blues electrics, a bit of banjo, simple percussion-all add layers to give an understated sound that you just can’t help but gently nod along to, quietly tapping your feet. It gets into your head and under your skin.
When we receive requests for review they are either wrapped up in marketing bumpf, bundled with info about the band or artist. None of this is bad, in fact it can be very helpful. But in this instance we got an email simply stating would you be interested in reviewing my little one man band? Nothing else. Sometimes this humble approach speaks volumes, it also leaves you wondering what journey you are about to embark on when you put on your headphones or turn up your speakers.
The husky vocals, the acoustic guitar, simple percussion, all adds layers to give an understated sound.
From the opening title track “Alligator Heart” you are treated to an acoustic gentle intro, carefully put together-imagine sitting on a boat gliding across the bayou. Things change tack with Banshee Wail as the husky vocals kick in and the tempo rises, accompanied by a harsher sound. You are heading into no-mans land, your laws don’t apply here. With a solid rhythm – I can’t help but picture Seasick Steve and his Mississippi Drum Machine. Yet at about 85 seconds this track disappears as fast as it came, followed by “Perdition at Dawn”. Again, the distorted electric guitar is overlaid with his husky vocals, and what sounds like a kitchen supplied percussion section. The honesty and rawness makes this stand out. As things slow up a tad, the guitar loses some distortion, the tempo recedes slightly, and you are left with delta blues oozing from the stereo.
Closer to the opening track “Vines Of Yggdrasil” this instrumental track totally captures the deep Southern Vibe, unlike “Been Cookin” which might be nearer “Voodoo inspired” or a nasty recipe-you decide! “Sambucas Nigra” is a blues guitar led track, again rather short at just over 2 minutes, but captures the vibe to a tee. “Crow On A Wagon Wheel” has a familiar sound to me with the banjo – but I cannot place where. That plucking of the strings, a slight bass hum and the subtle reverb all give it an atmosphere.
Closing the album are two tracks paired together “Aether Bound”, the first “Scorched Earth” gently opening with guitar, and then as the instruments build up the tension it becomes hard to hear the vocal gently start. With only the slightest hint of percussion, this is more a bluesy guitar led track. Followed by “Dust & Ghost” with a slightly heavier vibe the drums kick in. The guitars are turned up a notch as well as the tempo to match, With spoken word in the middle giving the track an extra air of mystique.
I loved this album – in fact it got possibly too many plays prior to writing all this, meaning I started to lose objectivity, and with each listen I forgot to make notes. It generates that form of escapism, takes you away form your day to day. I am now curious about the first two albums from this “one man band”!
To quote Larman; “Welcome to my garage in the swamps of outer space!”
The album is available from here.
Perdition At Dawn
Done No Good
Vines Of Yggdrasil
She Sent Her Hounds
I’m Buildin’ Ruins
Crow On A Wagon Wheel
Aether Bound I – Scorched Earth
Aether Bound II – Dust & Ghost
Words, whittling, and chewing ‘baccy by Jon.