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Hoots and Hellmouth - The Holy Open Secret

The Holy Open Secret

Hoots and Hellmouth

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A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Mark S. Tucker

Leave it to publicist Howard Wuelfing (ex-Underheaven, etc.) to scout out the most unusual musics. He's previously unearthed a bevy of truly strange and wonderful groups and is now heralding this snappy, bouncing, joyous high glimmer folk ensemble Hoots & Hellmouth, a raucously viral augmented trio kicking up hi-energy cuts burrowing beneath brain and skin.

The rhythms in The Holy Open Secret are triple-catchy with brash, sassy, in-your-face vocals jumping up, beer stein in hand, belting out to exhort all and sundry to join in and and wail. Obscenities also find a happy home as Watch Your Mouth jives and jumbles from gutter to swamp to bayou midnight, twitching guitar calling out a stutterstep rhythm time. On the other hand, Three Penny Charm possesses a mellowly rockin' smoothness to it, almost an interlude between rave-ups, save that it's followed by Ne'er Do Well, just as sensuous and laid back, a gem.

There's more than a little Asylum Street Spankers in Hoots & Hellmouth aggregate, and if you're familiar with the Spankers, then you know what a high recommendation that is. This aspect comes out strongly in cuts like Dishpan Hands, with it's boozy Nawleans tenor and summer's day back-alley smoke. Then there's the presence of the ghost of Paul Williams, but the kind of Williams who cut his scotch with benzedrine after an orgy in Topanga Canyon, not the boy scout we saw in the chart crooners. In the end, this little combo is another one of those acts falling between genres, refusing to toe any hard and fast line, and providing eager ears with the kind of offbeat fare that revivifies even the most jaded music-hound's tastes and appetites.

Track List:

  • Rot of the Industry
  • You and All of Us
  • Watch Your Mouth
  • Three Penny Charm
  • Ne'er Do Well
  • What Good are Plowshares if We Use Them like Swords
  • Family Band
  • Dishpan Hands
  • Known for Possession
  • Roll, Brandywine, Roll
All songs written by Sean Hoots, Andrew Gray, and Robert Berliner.

Edited by: David N. Pyles


Copyright 2009, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.

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