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.

Comments (2) Add New Comment
Karen
These guys are so refreshing. Not only do they put on an amazing show, they are friendly and approachable to boot! Long Live HarpAxe!!
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Rating: -14
Mike
Amazing live show and great guys!!
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Rating: -2
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