Album Review: Holy White Hounds’ ‘Sparkle Sparkle’

Holy White Hounds

Sparkle Sparkle

Holy White Hounds
Listen on Spotify

The guys in Holy White Hounds have been kicking around the Des Moines/Ankeny area for a few years in other bands, but it was the 2013 reunion of high school bandmates Brenton Dean (vocals, guitar) and Ambrose Lupercal (bass) that started the path to their debut record, Sparkle Sparkle.

Produced by Brandon Darner, who had his hands in Imagine Dragon’s first single, the album sparkles and pulses with a radio-ready bombastic cross of punk and metal. Dean’s lyrics paint stark, sometimes chaotic vignettes of sex, drugs and the disenfranchised millennial condition. Smart, snarky and self-deprecating, the album is both the party and the hangover, both the wild abandon of random hookups and the following paranoia of STDs. In other words, it’s rock and roll at its dark best.

This theme is established right away in the opening track “Switchblade.” Dean sings languidly, “Sitting in the backseat sucking on a switchblade”—at once sexual and self-destructive. “You did what you could to hide your deed. In the end it could not be erased.” But the attraction for him is unavoidable, if dangerous.

Like Dean also sings in “Switchblade,” “Sometimes all you need is just a taste.” And that taste has me coming back for more. A mere mention of this band and an earworm of superbly hooky bass and distorted guitar riffs dislodge from the folds of my grey matter, taking over any thought I might have. Come join me in the addiction of Holy White Hounds.

This article was originally published in Little Village issue 189.

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