The Harpoonist &The Axe Murderer sound like they teeter between control and spontaneous musical combustion. It’s an interesting contrast that is not surprising given that their new album A Real Fine Mess explores the contrasts found in life. Those two guys are good at walking the edge.
Shawn “The Harpoonist” Hall and Matthew “The Axe Murderer” Rogers are a duo that doesn’t sound like anyone else.
Their music is dipped in the blues tradition, squeeze dried, reconstituted with funk and soul, then dragged down miles of hot asphalt, making them road worthy and party ready. Shawn Hall and Matthew Rogers have got the miles on them to deliver a boundary-busting album like this, where each song is a sweat-induced event.
They rip it open with the first track “Mama’s In the Backseat” and fan the flames right through the next thirteen tracks.
It’s clear the duo isn’t hemmed in by tradition. They play with some surprising results. Check out the country vibe “In and out of Love”.
You’d be forgiven for wanting to do a little back up singing with choreography as you listen to the soul nugget “Feel Me Now”. Shawn’s rough sweet vocal is reminiscent of the old Motown recordings, but there are stabs of modernity that bring the song up to date.
There’s a great synergy between Shawn and Matthew’s playing, yet there’s some great tension too. Other notable duo’s that have harnessed this quality are The Black Keys or blues legends Sonny Terry & Brownie McGhee. It’s a necessary component for music that you hear and feel.
With plenty of go for broke harp playing and axe murdering, along with a heavy percussive foot, Shawn Hall and Matthew Rogers have created A Real Fine Mess indeed – heavy on the fine.
By Shelley Gummeson
Oct 3, 2014