Honshu Wolves: Cosmic Creature Capture – album review
Cosmic Creature Capture
LP | CD | DL
Out 5th March 2021
Switzerland’s Honshu Wolves return with their second album, a trippy psych garage record that takes you on a journey.
Hailing from Bern, Switzerland, Honshu Wolves, led by the aptly monikered singer/guitarist Maryanne Shewolf, deal in trippy and hypnotic garage, rooted in the blues but laced with acid space rock. The fuzz swells, guitars swim and drift, rhythms, sparse and coercing, tease the songs out as the vocals glide over the top. On tracks like Won’t Let Fear In, the result is one of The Kills lost somewhere in the snow-capped mountains in search of the Japanese folkloric protector of travellers from which the trio take their name. “Counting the beat on my heartache / Trying to keep it slow.” It’s exactly in the easy, unhurried style where the band are able to make their mark, giving Shewolf the space to let her voice breath and guitar wail out from the sultry background. The style is not what we’ve come to expect from the Voodoo Rhythm label, more associated with the rollicking and kicking garage-blues, but is certainly a great new string to their bow, one which the band pull slowly back to release their arrow into a gliding flight.
There are definite shades of PJ Harvey on lead single Goddess, stripped back and almost devoid of music until the beat and twanging guitar rise slowly up. The unease created paints the character as the outsider, slowly revealing herself from the raw yet beautiful forests. By the time the song takes hold you realise that you have been entrapped and enthralled, under its spell with all willpower gone.
White Dress is drenched in reverberating fuzz, winding and flowing as the protagonist of the song itself, while the following Tell Me steps back to a less polished Warpaint vibe. Throughout much of the record, there is an underlying desert country feel to many on the songs, one which they push more to the fore on AHA, whittled back to a simple acoustic guitar and slightly more uptempo. Marina, however, is the song where they bring all these elements together and really shine on what just may be the album’s real stand out track.
Cosmic Creature Capture is just as its title suggests – a mystical garage album, not built for kicking up a barroom sweat, but rather for seeing you safely pass through the cold woodland night while dangers lurk, kept only at bay by the spell that Honshu Wolves cast.
Words by Nathan Whittle. Find his Louder Than War archive here.
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