Curse Of Lono

As I Fell

(Submarine Cat Records)

Felix and crew return with a second album, created with the benefit of many stage performances which have given the ensemble a truly organic musical dynamic presence without blunting their edge. Not a bad place to have attained ! Featured here alongside Bechtolsheimer we find Joe Hazell guitars, Dani Huiz Hernandez on keys, Charis Anderson bass and as ever Neil Findlay on drums. The ensemble seem to have channelled their on the road experiences and reflections into the heart of this release.

Opening number Valentine uses rumbling bass and an emphatic beat to get things under way. The chorale / ensemble vocal immediately identifies them as Curse Of Lono. Yes, you can detect influences in their output, but their sound is already very much their own. A savage guitar break @ 2:00 evokes Mark Ribot and the overall vibe is shadowy and insistent. Love doesn’t have to be soft pink!

Way To Mars places Felix upfront in a country rock setting with slivers of electric guitar, steady bass, cooing Hammond and busy drumming. Bechtolsheimer has long perfected the art of singing in a relaxed way with no sacrifice of bite and here draws upon his love of Dylan, I venture. Anyone who reveres Blood On The Tracks would surely enjoy Curse Of Lono. On to And It Shows which is sombre indeed, delay on the guitar ripples and soft Band-style keys. A beautiful vocal blend is heard here and what a palette to draw upon. I’d Start A War For You takes an electronic pace overlaid with a folky guitar part, with a conspiratorial vocal delivery splattered with power chords. The slide guitar break is suitably eerie.

Kathleen is twilight music. All indigo and purple, like a Ry Cooder soundtrack. The lyrics are vinegar-flecked and desolate whilst Blackout Fever has a funk grind that has distant echoes of Wild Thing..perhaps in the hands of Tom Waits. It is also insanely catchy and probably my favourite song in this programme. The bass tone is surely from Transylvania. Tell Me About Your Love sounds like New Order at its very start but Felix’ voice then owns it, sounding here as vulnerable as he can attain.

As I Fell hits the cinematic vibe, peeping through the dark clouds. Few other acts can make sadness so very beautiful. The Affair uses tremelo’d electric guitar over syncopation for a mood that is somewhere hovering between Southwark and Lafayette. The song has a dream-like presence, drawing the listener in. Did we ever talk about David Ackles, Felix? No Trouble rolls along gently, with the group holding back, that glorious singing adding all the colour needed. Southern Soul guitar chugs away. Finally, the emotional Leuven which has our man thinking about some family history.

We can claim no neutrality as regards this man and his creative works..we have known him and Neil too long. They can be proud of this lineup. A couple of sunnier cuts would have helped the balance here, but their live shows have great dynamic range so get to see this individual crew perform if you get the chance.

Pete Sargeant



(Thanks to Michael and Lisa)

Curse of Lono's new album 'As I Fell' is out now on Submarine Cat Records. 

The singles 'Leuven' and 'Valentine' are out now.

You can watch the official music video for 'Valentine' in this article.

Their new single 'Way To Mars' is released on Friday 31st August 2018.

For more information visit the band's official website here: