Submarine Cat (label)
12 July 2019 (released)
02 June 2019
I finally got to see Curse of Lono live recently, supporting the wonderful Samantha Fish, and their strong yet laid back sound was more than a little impressive.
This album was recorded live in Toe Rag studios, London, and clearly shows just how good the experience of 5 musicians actually playing together can be.
Led by Felix Bechtolsheimer on guitar and vocals with Dani Ruiz Fernandez on keys, Charis Anderson on bass, Joe Hazell on guitars and Neil Findlay on drums, they sit in a general Americana groove but there is something a bit special about them and the quality of the playing on the album is absolutely superb. Ms Anderson’s bass is fluid and clear, Felix gravelly vocals are never ‘loud’ but often crooning and Joe Hazell’s guitar playing really catches the ear with short and punchy solos. Fernandez keyboards add a great texture and depth to their music and Neil Findley’s drumming is surprisingly subtle. BJ Cole adds some fine lap steel.
This is good stuff.
Then you come to the music itself, and the songwriting really stands out. Numbers such as ‘Valentine’ have a great melody as well as stirring harmonies and ‘Welcome Home’ is actually kind of dark, moreso than the musical accompaniment suggests. ‘London Rain’ reminds me of many other bands, especially Ace with terrific harp playing and guitar.
Probably my favourite track is the closer, ‘Don’t Look Down’. Slow and balladic, there is a wistful feel to the lyrics, a looking back and a huge feeling of regret. Everything about the track, especially the guitar playing, just nails the soul and groove of the band.
Curse of Lono are a superb band, very tight and somehow loose as well and one of the best British Americana acts I’ve heard in a long while.