Howlin’ Rain’s Magnificent Fiend belongs in the late ’60s and early ’70s, no doubt about it. The second album by San Francisco psych rockers Howlin’ Rain follows in the footsteps made by Boston, Steppenwolf, The Doors, the Doobie Brothers, and even the Beatles, but these guys do it with a complexity and a sheer mass of musicianship that make this album such a delight to listen to. Frontman Ethan Miller’s songwriting is far from simple. Songs like “El Rey” wind tales about something dark and sinister, but somehow manage to come off pleasant. Guitar solos give way to synchronous Hammond organ riffs, followed by Miller’s grainy, genuine vocals. And with so many first-rate musicians on board, it’s remarkable how cohesive Fiend manages to sound. Simply put, it is the past distilled and enhanced into an eight track, 45-minute joyride


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