East Los Angeles-based, garage rock foursome the Bloodhounds strike up a storm on their blues-belching debut, Let Loose! Through a dozen tracks, which total 42 minutes, the band blends a morsel of punk, heaps of hard R&B, electric blues and garage rock influences into a potent mix, brimming over with hard-riffing guitars, rambunctious rhythms and stripped-down bravado.
The harmonica-enriched “Wild Little Rider” and the Stones-meets-Jonathan Richman “Crackin’ Up” reconnect with the high-octane, garage-soul of antecedents such as Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels, the Kingsmen and other, likeminded groups.
The Chicago electric blues scene is an obvious inspiration for “The Wolf,” a lo-fi cut, which notably nods to Howlin’ Wolf, particularly with its shuffling beat, steely slide guitar and lyrics about the title character’s nocturnal rambling.
The Bloodhound’s initial single, the psych-rocker “Try a Little Reefer,” echoes another L.A. outfit, the Seeds, with an account about a young man’s initiation into illicit recreational drug use.
The Bloodhounds are also known to do a bit of sidewalk busking, and that side of their sound is at the forefront of folk-tinged, jug band replications that include “Olderbudwiser,” the cautionary tale about the dangers of drinking, and “Dusty Bibles and Silver Spoons,” a sobering story about one man’s drug abuse and loss of faith. These two songs have a swinging attitude but somber undertones that perfectly capture the Bloodhounds’ philosophy: party up, but keep your head clear. – Doug Simpson