Cursus Album Review

Thanks to Gifford Rolfe for his piece about our Loudhailer Electric Company album, Cursus

Loudhailer Electric Company: CURSUS review by Gifford Rolfe.

“A dazzling plethora of swirling musical images that carry you on a psychedelic big-dipper journey, full of excitement and majestic enjoyment”


In the opening lyric of Out to Sea, Lou Duffy-Howard sings, “Where can you go if you want to see me?…out in the wild, wild land” and this musical land is wild, exciting and beautiful as it spirals on a magical and intensely colourful journey, full of whirling sounds and driving rhythms.  This opening track provides an appetising taster of delights yet to follow.

“The Messenger” with its jangling rhythm guitars, takes us travelling onwards into the west-coast influenced rhythms, bell-like lead guitar and soaring sweep of fiddle tunes, all layered across  Lou’s bass and Rich Walker’s tight drum patterns to invite you into the richly designed mosaic of this second track. With superb synchronicity, we are then led into the storyline of “Gypsey Race” with its inventive rhythmic patterns and Jeff Parson’s creatively dancing guitar solos.  The journey continues into the celebratory content of “Sing-Sing for Everything” that begins with a country/folksy feel to it, yet does not intrude and allows the voices of Rich and Lou to speak freely, clear as freshwater. “Aftermath” brings a temporary halt and a dramatic change of both content and sound with Jeff’s distorted guitar, setting an ominous tone to the intro to this song.  Lou’s whispered vocals are surrounded by echoing riffs as the band create an ever-building atmosphere that swirls and almost swallows you up. The high tension continues as we are drawn into the powerful murder-ballad, “On the Run”…a track that is full of the snarl the story demands, driven by Rich’s great drumming and the select themes of Lou’s bass patterns. Altogether, the band creates a sound that exploits the nastiness needed to interpret the inevitability of the story.

An amazing guitar intro opens “Hawk Moon” and we are swept into the region of 60s/70s psychedelia, with tight, spiralling rhythms and overlays of screaming guitars. We then are given a moment of gentler reprise as chiming guitars play across a sweeping rhythm section and “Just Like Life” floats into view, but soon builds in intensity to  present its message. This song leads us into the classic finale song of “Night Heron”. Beautifully written lyrics capture and present a landscape of image and statement that is equally poetic and enticing, inviting us into a place of otherworldliness and secrecy. All is woven and enhanced by the band’s skillful musicians as they thread together their colourful electric guitar responses, magical fiddle overlays, varied rhythm guitar parts and inventive bass and drum underpinning. This is a long, concluding track full of musical wizardry that showcases the band as the all-encompassing storyteller that it clearly is. Keep the record on repeat and you will enjoy the way that the final track cleverly segues into the opening track both in atmosphere and content.

There is so much to marvel at in this album as it takes elements of psychedelic rock,( The Doors, Jefferson Airplane, Lou Reed, Patti Smith…the influences go on) and wraps them around songs with sensitively written lyrics on a range of contemporary topics from nature preservation to aspects of humanity’s  destructive personality.

Headed out by the creative partnership of Lou and Rich Duffy-Howard, their songs are ably and sensitively interpreted and enhanced by the inventive and expressive contributions of the band as they paint a rich canvas of dynamic images.

The record is beautifully engineered by John Spence, mastered by Pete Maher, and suitably designed with vibrant 70s style images by Charlotte Pugh. A great package that takes you on a dazzling and exciting journey. Go out and buy it!

Download available from iTunes, Spotify and all the usual digital outlets.

Limited edition CD Digipak album from selected stores, Bandcamp and Loudhailer Electric Company.

Loudhailer Electric Company by Paul Newbon

Rich and Lou Duffy-Howard – Visit our Home Page


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