Little Hurricane – “Gold Fever”
This is actually the sophomore album of Little Hurricane, who hail from San Diego. It will come as a bit of surprise on listening to the album’s sound to know they are only a twosome. The band consists of singer/guitarist Tone Catalano and drummer/vocalist C.C. Spina. When recording the album, they used vintage equipment borrowed from a friend, who once recorded with legendary bands like the Grateful Dead and Deep Purple. It was also recorded whilst they sweated through a mid-summer heat wave, in air-conditioner-free surroundings—and often visited by tarantulas, turkeys, deer, and other local creatures.
“Summer Air” is a great opening song which naturally has a summery feel to it. It begins with a neat guitar line before the excellent vocals kick in. The vocals impress throughout the album as they are smooth but also with a rasp to catch your attention. The melodic opening is maintained with “Upside Of Down”, before “Sheep In Wolves Clothing” sees them gradually moving in to a more anthemic, indie type sound. The ability to deliver an anthem is reinforced with “Con Man”, but they now build the song up even further with a higher sense of passion and anger. We reach an entirely new level with “Sorry Son” which, by the end, creates such a triumphant sound it could almost be a huge James Bond theme.
They still have a number of songs which perhaps show the influence of their swampy recording space. “Boiling Water” steps things up a gear by adding some horns which really transform the song. This is a brilliant song, with a great, almost Philly soul, undertone to it. It’s the one which will really get you up and dancing. “No Man’s Land” keeps the more funky feel going and builds up to a more crunching sound. Then on “Bones” they really allow that Southern America sound to shine on a track which has hints of The Alabama Shakes about it.
Little Hurricane nicely mix things up with “Breathe” which is a duet that results in a beautiful sound, thanks mostly to the sweet female vocals. The song actually makes you realise how these vocals feature throughout the album, but they really shine on this one. This is a soft and simple song but it is totally chilled and enchanting. The title track “Gold Fever” sees them kicking in the mix of Americana and a kind of funk feel. It produces a sound which is very much like The Black Keys. Again, however, the female vocals are given an additional focus which adds some sweetness against the gritty blues riff. The album then ends with “Grand Canyon” which is an appropriately raucous, blues rock, funk jam which drips with soul.
This is a really great album and the only difficulty is how to pigeon hole it. The fact that it has a wide range of feels, influences and styles is one of the things that make it so enjoyable. However, given the popularity recently of bands like The Black Keys and Alabama Shakes, it wouldn’t do them any harm to try and catch their coat tails. It certainly shows the same sense of a band playing ‘real music’ with a blues feel but also added funk. One things for sure, Gold Fever is definitely an album you should be checking out!