[sic] Magazine

Ritual Howls – Turkish Leather

Stuck for things to say at your local hipster huddle? Try name-dropping the nascent felte label. Fresh from excellent White Hex and The Tower Of Light LPs they’re now pedalling Turkish Leather, the second album from Detroit trio Ritual Howls, and it’s another very solid notch in their bedpost. A lot is being made of it being difficult to pin down however. True, Paul Bancell, Ben Saginaw and Chris Samuels overlay their nuclear guitar, bass and drums with the wheezy clanking of industry, buzzed-out synths and Morricone’s spidery chimes, but they’re nonetheless a fairly straightforward Gothic-leaning post-punk band.

That said Turkish Leather is quite varied. On the one hand you have the expected. Tracks like the deliciously dark “Helm” and “Zemmoa” nag away like Bright Lights-era Interpol, jangling guitars balanced by Bancell’s theatrically doomed vocal. And, at the other end of the spectrum, “Take Me Up” is nothing less than gloomy synth-pop par excellence.

Then you have the album’s more atmospheric offerings. Locking on early, “My Friends” drag-races kraut against punk down a narrow track – listen slack-jawed as the strip-lights streak past like that top-drawer Verma album, Sunrunner, on Trouble In Mind earlier this year. In turn, the creepy “Final Service” makes the most of a desert-surf riff and reverbed drum programmes, while the muscular title track has hints of the East in its fragrant guitar drones and Bancell’s dead-eyed repeats. A little all over the map perhaps, but Turkish Leather adheres to a rich history all the same. Just don’t let the sunlight catch it or all you’ll be left with is a pile of dust.

Best tracks: “My Friends” and “Zemmoa”

~Turkish Leather will be released September 30th 2014 via felte.~