Hombre Malo / Jack and the Bearded Fishermen – 7’’ Split   Leave a comment

The good thing about getting down on a split work by two bands I’ve never heard of is that the bands have no weapons at their disposal. They have to impress me, if they can, with their music alone as there is no reputation, review or anything like that keeping them afloat. This particular split only has two tracks, one by each band, so it can serve as somewhat of an introduction to both bands.

Hombre Malo is a Norwegian stoner rock band with doom influences, apparently formed from members of The Sons of Saturn. Besides this split, they have a four-track EP, titled “The Ecstasy of Devastation.” They contribute to this split with a song titled “A Desert for a Man.” It’s an interesting number, to say the least.  It’s sort of progressive, which is to say, it falls on the more variable, more dynamic side of stoner rock.  It’s a song of escalation, starting off stripped-down, post-rock-like with groovy passages and shouted vocals but eventually makes its way to a harsher, more raw style and ends up in growls and over-driven guitars.  It’s a groovy, fun and ever-more louder song.  (Although Hombre Malo’s EP is more on the harsher side…. More on that later, hopefully.)

Jack and the Bearded Fishermen is a French band, formed in 2005.  They actually have a self-titled full-length out right now, but I’m using the split as a yardstick to steer by.  Their contribution is a song titled “Spies of Congress.” Now between Hombre Malo’s contribution and this, I find JatBF to be a little lacking.  Their most prominent feature is a heavy use of keyboards, something I don’t hear often in stoner bands.  They have an interesting, if Ghost-like tone with the keyboard, and a generally gospel approach to music.  They retain their stoner identity with the guitars, which have all the fat fuzz we are used to. The drums are adequate, but the vocals are dry and sung through a vocal processor, which throws me off.  They have a similar escalation (a la “A Desert for a Man”) in that the song alternates between more melodic and harder passages before launching into a harsh end.

So if I were to choose, I’d pay Hombre Malo closer attention while waiting for Jack and the Bearded Fishermen to refine their vocals a little bit more.  Either way, I usually use splits as introduction to bands, and the ones that made this display an interesting, if lo-fi, approach to stoner rock, and are worth a listen if you’re tired of the subtle, warm tones.
Review Written By Sarp Esin

Jack And Bearded Fishermen @ Bandcamp
Hombre Malo @ Myspace

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