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The Russian Wilds

Howlin Rain
AMERICAN RECORDINGS
Not so many years ago, Ethan Miller’s band Comets on Fire provided a perfectly psychedelic shot in the arm — their loud, histrionic MC5-style rock ruled the day, and it seemed like a number of copycat bands have since sprung up in their wake. Nothing good lasts forever, though, and while Miller has a new band, Howlin Rain, they pack a much less potent punch. To add to the potential misery of the overly long retro retreads on their new album, The Russian Wilds, which features a number of miscues and missed opportunities, the most egregious is an embarrassingly poor faux-Latin coda (think recent Santana) on “Phantom in the Valley.” Produced by Rick Rubin, who once tried to turn The Cult into AC/DC, The Russian Wilds is thankfully no longer than an hour, though it’s an hour that unfortunately seems much, much longer.