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'Crooked Heart'
(HabitFormed Records)

Phil Kane

phil kane

recluse crooked heart

Recluse are from Cardiff, are young and are a three-piece outfit that have been pegged by their own promo bumph as being alt rock. What it actually is, however, is a dose of heavy duty Metallic stoner blues. Tracer and Graveyard do something similar so if you've got a handle on those two, you'll know what to expect from 'Crooked Heart'.

The amateurish production is raw as fuck giving the album a live plug-in-n'-play feel that harks back to the good old days when the likes of Cream, Zeppelin and Taste prowled the country's stages and several tracks offer potential for extended live wig outs. 'All Of A Sudden' has a definite swampy feel to its boogie and 'Dirty Blond', 'Lover', 'In Retrospect' and 'Heartjacker' are riff heavy work outs that could more than hold their own against the American Desert Session bands.

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The album does have a subtle alty undercurrent that could possibly be blamed on the band's Nirvana tribute days with 'All Of A Sudden' and 'Passing Cars' having a certain Dave Grohl/Foo Fighters charm, but otherwise you can forget the alt tag.

Of course originality is lacking (check out the echo of Quo's 'Big Fat Mama' in the middle of 'Dirty Blonde' for instance) but that is handsomely compensated for by the band's youthful enthusiasm and the album's colossal groove.

Along the lines of a more direct Clutch, this album is not hip or glamorous, reeking as it does of beer, beards and diesel. The beautiful ones at your local rock watering hole will most certainly hate it.

'Crooked Heart' is a slow burning, chunky, bluesy, riff-fest suggesting that if Recluse can accept and develop the fucking great mix they have stumbled on here then they could be onto something special; something very, very special indeed.



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