The Hounds

The Lion Sleeps Tonight: Best of the Hounds

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Chances are that the Hounds (also referred to as "the Hound" in some accounts) are an unknown quantity to most listeners, except for those who spent time in Sweden in second half of the 1960s. Fact is, though, that they're well worth hearing as a light pop/rock outfit with some less often glimpsed, slightly heavier sides -- they even managed to dip a toe into what would later be called "freakbeat" near the end of their history. The Hounds never released an album, but they enjoyed enough charting singles in Sweden that this CD could qualify as a greatest-hits as well as a best-of collection, representing everything they ever succeeded with and other things that didn't sell as well (but arguably should have). From harmony vocal pop/rock ("Exodus," "Sealed with a Kiss") to folk-rock ("The Times They Are A-Changin'") to some solid originals and a little venture into psychedelic pop ("Hi-Ho Silver Lining"), they do well by the music and the listener across 18 songs. Among many other virtues, the bandmembers seem to have understood the notion of less being more, which makes their harmony-driven cover of Dylan's "The Times They Are A-Changin'" a lot more successful than, say, the Hollies' rendition. In all, this is an enjoyable if not earth-shattering or revelatory overview of a band with lots of talent, some ambition, and good to excellent results in its short three-year history.