Lupine Howl

The Bar at the End of the World

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After being dismissed from Spiritualized, the members of Lupine Howl obviously had a lot to prove. Their first post-sacking release didn't quite do the trick, basically reprising what they did in Spiritualized but with weaker material. The group adopts a slightly different tactic here, and while the album starts with a big blast of glam, the rest of the songs here are much more gentle and easygoing. That doesn't mean they're anything new; on the contrary, most of the album recalls another time, whether that's the early days of guitar-driven rock or even something as recent as the first Oasis album.

The real problem is that Lupine Howl doesn't really do enough here to distinguish itself from other bands, drawing from such obvious influences as the Rolling Stones and the Doors, and in a lot of ways the album sounds like a tour of '90s retro-influenced bands like the Charlatans, Oasis, or even the Black Crowes. While the string section definitely gives the album some texture beyond the first album's layered guitar onslaught, and while there are certainly some fine lyrical moments every so often, like the capper to the Stonesy "Don't Lose Your Head ("We all do things we hate to get things we don't need"), it's still not quite enough. Considering where these guys came from and what they're capable of, there's still an excellent album in them, but this one isn't quite it, yet.

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