The calamitous hindrances of musicians owning their own recording studios remain unheeded, even though the barbarous words are carved on the massive headstones that populate the graveyard of CD-ROM boxed sets and DAT tapes. On the flip, the freewheeling merits of that same boon/curse gave us the Halfway Hounds.
The product of not one, but two, accomplished musicians who are also devout studio-owning-engineer-gear geeks (in this case, the ubiquitous Ryan Turk and cohort Michael Martin of Warehouse Studios), the Hounds’ three-song eponymous debut won’t be crashing Spotify anytime soon. But the track “Howlin’” is a three-minute clumsy wallop of neanderthal garage punk that sounds like Turk and Martin were bored, fooled around with a riff, and rolled tape. Yes, it’s that good.
The song ramps into the bonus round with a simple-yet-furious guitar solo drenched in wah pedal, preceded by the heavenly sound of an amp reverb crackling.
Dee Dee Ramone once admitted, “The Ramones stand for nothing but pure hate.” Strong words and also kind of a depressing goal of attainment. The Halfway Hounds are surely not hateful creatures. In a perfect world, they probably prefer to lay around and roll over in lieu of even standing. And there’s a good chance the band might have broken up as soon as they were formed: the ultimate punk career move. But they did give us the fully formed “Howlin’” and for that, we are grateful.