The Harpoonist & the Axe Murderer get greasy on A Real Fine Mess

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A Real Fine Mess (Independent)

According to the band itself, the music of the Harpoonist & the Axe Murderer is “the blues the way it was meant to be played”. Depending on how you feel about the blues, that’s either a self-deprecating assessment or a self-aggrandizing one.

Either way, it takes cojones to make such a claim, and apparently singer–harmonica player Shawn Hall and guitarist-drummer Matthew Rogers have balls to spare.

(Okay, maybe not literally.)

Whereas the duo’s previous full-length outing, Checkered Past, was an exercise in more-or-less straightforward swamp blues, however, the latest one deviates from the template. “Black and Blue” is greasy, country-fried R & B, complete with a horny-horns brass section and full-gospel backing vocals. Meanwhile, “Mama’s in the Backseat” is white-lightning rockabilly, and “Feel Me Now” is hot-summer-night soul.

In lesser hands, all this genre-mashing would result in something that deserves the title A Real Fine Mess. Fortunately, Hall and Rogers (plus their coproducer John Raham and a small army of musical guests) know exactly what they’re doing, which makes this album a truly fresh take on a whole mess of old sounds.

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May 29, 2014 at 11:00am

These guys are so refreshing. Not only do they put on an amazing show, they are friendly and approachable to boot! Long Live HarpAxe!!


May 29, 2014 at 5:31pm

Amazing live show and great guys!!

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