Howlin’ Rain : The Russian Wilds

In another time, Howlin’ Rain would be as huge as their sound.

The band’s latest release, The Russian Wilds, is a tour de force of fuzz-laced guitar, growling bass, and arena-sized rock that would have been the stuff of legend had they emerged, say, 35 years ago. The vocal harmonies on the album-opening “Self-Made Man” and “Collage” have Laurel Canyon’s stamp all over them, and the swelling, balls-to-the-wall rock in “Phantom in the Valley” will get your blood pumping (before it drops into the Latin-tinged outro, at least). Producer Rick Rubin helmed this album, and his touches and polish are evident in a good way.

It’s a shame that Howlin’ Rain may never be as big as they should be, since the industry isn’t what it used to be; nonetheless, The Russian Wilds is a step forward for a band clearly influenced by the past.

The Russian Wilds is out now on American Recordings.