Clouds in the Head

The Music Cartel/Rise Above

Their first one flew right by me, and now this. See, there are miles of difference between Hangnail’s Ten Days Before Summer debut platter and their Clouds in the Head sophomore one, the former pretty much pandering to “stoner rock” formula • and boringly, at that • whereas the much-improved latter reconfigures the British quartet as a shit-kickin’ rock band that’s not necessarily heavy metal, but definitely heavy. It’s an advance that few, outside of Turbonegro and the contemporaneous Swedish rock scene, are prone to tinker with these days, a head-down/bang-away thump that nods as much to Zeppelin and KISS as it does to the MC5 and AC/DC, albeit much more modernized (namely, the thick n’ warm production that still sounds curiously analog). And guitarist Harry Armstrong has a powerful, vastly improved set of pipes that draw from the better elements of Chris Cornell’s, a rebel yell that’s the epitome of the open-shirted, rabble-rousing frontman. Any way you cut it, though, Hangnail emerge all the better, and stand poised to deliver a (hopefully) steady stream of barnstormers.

The Music Cartel, PO Box 629, Port Washington, NY 11050; http://www.music-cartel.com

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