Anglo-Welsh-American psychedelic rockers, Howl Griff’s 2006 debut album, Hope Against Hope together with second album Howl Griff set the scene for the band’s unique style. 2010 saw the release of The Hum and now 2012 sees an amazing follow up to those albums with the impending release of the hotly anticipated Fragile Diamond. Polished vocals and tight arrangements make this a truly breath-taking album.
Hywel Griffiths– lead singer, Gary Parkinson– guitar and backing vocals, Steve Kennedy– bass and backing vocals and Nick Moore on drums and percussion, combine to give Fragile Diamond an awe-inspiring Kooks-esque sound that takes the band another major step in the right direction.
Title track Fragile Diamond demonstrates Howl Griff’s progression from their earlier (predominantly Welsh) Album Orientated Rock sound to these latest psychedelic rocking beats. You Don’t Have To Leave On Your Own is catchy and makes me think of something The Coral might do while Fragile Diamond is very much in the style of many Kooks songs.
The Smiths with a hint of U2 may sound like an odd mix but it really works on the catchy Sharkfins In The Sky and while on first listen, Radio Revolution sounds completely different from the rest of the album, there are clear references to some iconic influences with a hint of R.E.M, Mumford and Sons and even a glimpse of Led Zeppelin.
My favourite song on the album has got to be Runaroud, an upbeat song that sounds like The Vaccines earlier material whereas Meet My Maker is an emotional yet inspiring song about lead singer Griff’s experiences of going blind while driving down the fast lane of the M4.
Starting with a slow and soft beat that builds steadily to the chorus, Puppet Operation Time has a bit of a sinister feel to it that may require a few listens. On the other hand She Walks On By The Flame with its brilliant fiery riff has a really punchy 70’s vibe.
The song Rose of Emily has a great finger tapping Country twist to it which provides an entertaining diversion from the more Rocky sound to the rest of the album. The song demonstrates the band are confident and flexible musicians. Returning to the Rock theme, track ten FÜßßBÜKKËR sounds a lot like White Lies and is up there with Runaround as one of the best. The penultimate song on this album is the outstanding and memorable International Dateline with a lively drum and guitar rhythm that provides the perfect link to the awesome finale Everything; a classic rock song with a steady beat that has the band baring their souls, Everything is the perfect end to this gem of an album. Look out for its release on 15 October 2012.