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Only a few of the “crank-it” tunes on this album fit the implications of its name, which references Welsh mining apparel. "Mission & Maintenance" is one of those. "Be Your Own Invention" leans on a riff that, to these ears, fuses "Spirit in the Sky" with ZZ Top. And am I the only one who feels Jim Diamond's mixes are starting to sound awfully Jon-Spencer-assembly-line? Or who prefers blues-rock's originators, along with those who've thrown some logs on the fire?

Anyway, there's hope: style and tempo variation suggests a healthy dose of humility and objectivity. "Love Is a Fever" welds the distorted "Southern" blues stomp that's becoming a cliché with the British slant (Rory Gallagher, Duster Bennett), at least as likely to inhabit the psyches of the Welsh brothers comprising HFS. The band engages with the shuffling narrative of "Bottom to Top" and a song John Lennon didn't live to write, "Across the Sky," as much as when it blisters ("Anvil & Chains," "Dog Scratched Ear") — maybe more. While there's nothing noteworthy in the scaled-down prettiness of "Heart on Fire," quiet flares go up with "Across the Sky." If the Clifford Brothers start future efforts from such an unassuming place and more organically incorporate heavier influences, they could set off consistently gasp-inducing fireworks.

Album: Donkey Jacket
Artist: Henry's Funeral Shoe
Label: Alive Natural Sound
Songs: (1) Be Your Own Invention (2) Love Is a Fever (3) Bottom to Top (4) Anvil & Chains (5) Dog Scratched Ear (6) Mission & Maintenance (7) The Walking Crawl (8) Heart on Fire (9) Gimme Back My Morphine (10) Across the Sky

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