Rhino And The Ranters – “The Hanging Room”
We first stumbled across Rhino And The Ranters when we saw they were playing at the Lunar Festival and were being described as being ‘cowpunk’. When we checked out their website and discovered that not only were they a local band to the home of http://www.thesoulofaclown.com but also that they describe their own sound as a full-bodied, flavourful maelstrom of cowpunk, gospel, blues then we just knew we had to check them out!
The reference to ‘cow punk’ is certainly a good description for “The Rebel” which has a country twang to it, but delivered in a more raucous, Rockabilly fashion. This is even more evident with the highlighted slap bass on the upbeat “Radio Joe”
Things get a little darker with “Love The Way You Roll” which is bluesier and with a more menacing tone. Things get truly strange on the excellent “Dr Ink”. Once you hear this, it will come as no surprise to hear that the band have played with the awesome Urban Voodoo Machine. Songs like that, “Talking Through The Walls” and “Needlework” will have you thinking of Voodoo and New Orleans.
They’re back to the blues on “Nelly Clout” which is blues rock a la Roadhouse Blues by The Doors. We then have the great, upbeat track “Hallelujah” which you would imagine is an absolute riot live. As will be the gypsy inspired “Sub Nuneaton”. The country theme returns on the swinging “Walking The Zombie” which is far more restrained than the title may suggest.
There are a whole bunch of sounds and influences across this album, including country, rockabilly and blues, which makes it hard to categorise. One thing that you can be sure of, is that you wouldn’t imagine they were a band with its origins in the UK. Like the previously mentioned, Urban Voodoo Machine, there is a sense of New Orleans mystery or possibly vaudeville showmanship. However, the fact that they are based not too far from the physical home of thesoulofaclown.com should mean we get to see them live at a local venue soon. Which is great given that many of the songs on this album suggest that, with the added benefit of a drink or two, they could soundtrack a fun and wild night out!!