In early spring I booked the hard rock act SKÅNSKA MORD for my club Groove Eve. Their bass player, Patric Carlsson, offered to send me some of SKÅNSKA MORD´s "roots". Thats how I had the pleasure of discovering "Red Herring" by HALF MAN.
Swedish SKÅNSKA MORD originated from members of the two bands HALF MAN and MOTHERCAKE. HALF MAN recorded one demo, a split 7" and two albums between 1994 and 2002. Their last groove, "Red Herring", is dressed in heavy psychedelic blues rock and scented with the nostalgia of the 70's. But mostly, it is proof of the guys´ love for heart tearing blues.
The album is both playful and serious. The cover of FRANK ZAPPA´s Willy The Pimp, is handled with sass and their own brand, but still maintaining the core of the song unstained. Then there´s the convincing vocals of Janne Bengtsson in Sugar Mama. The desperate and passionate mood of the vocals is reflected in the guitar, as the tune eagerly continues to entice with its color blue. HALF MAN´s playfulness is also shown in the decision to include the blues drenched confession Same Thing On My Mind, its only feature, Bengtsson´s distressful voice.
Another important ingredient in "Red Herring" is Bengtsson´s harmonica. Coating many tunes as if the instrument was a conventional part in contemporary music. Bringing the natural sway to HALF MAN´s melodies.
The overall feeling I get from the album is delight. They put the rawness of the blues together with the power of heavy rock uncompromisingly. This gallant achievement needs more recognition.
Janne Bengtsson - vocals, guitar
Peter Lilja - guitar
Patric Carlsson - bass
Roger Bengtsson - drums
Label: Beard of Stars
2. Too Late
3. Pigs In Space
4. Sunday Morning Is Coming Down
5. Willy The Pimp
6. Sugar Mama
7. Departed Souls
8. Same Thing On My Mind
9. Grass Stains
10. Journey Into Darkness
11. Hard Road
12. No Title
Listen to Sugar Mama:
Listen to Same Thing On My Mind: