Doug Henthorn’s Three Aims for Number One

By Deuce

There’s one thing that no one who listens to Three, the forthcoming release from singer songwriter and instrumentalist Doug Henthorn dropping May 6, will ever question: the man’s conviction in the vocal booth.

Henthorn’s style of singing comes straight from the gut, from the pit of his stomach, and pours out all over the track, wherever it happens to land. It’s not unlike tearing paper—not in terms of cacophony—but in terms of a sudden burst of power. He summons a lot in his overdubs, the lead vocals, and even the background ones, hot dammit.

And, when the track and the lyrics match this controlled ferocity, watch out.

The most graphic illustration of this admixture is likely “Devil’s Coming Home”, the final song and the album’s crowning moment. On the bass and guitar Henthorn’s put together a thoroughly wicked groove (albeit the former is manned by Tim Fuller), which makes you immediately take notice and, if performed in a live venue, stand up and strain for a closer look.

Close your eyes and just imagine the hook: “devil’s coming home!” A single phrase, three words, a smattering of syllables, and everyone in the stadium, arena, club, or just recording studio, shouting in unison. That’s Henthorn’s energy, the very sound of Three, and the dark magic of “Devil’s” in particular with a cogency—if not outright exigency—that no one dare deny, or defy.

There are other cuts, too, that reach this apex of explosive fervor. “The Tourist”, for example, has a cutting bass line that the electric guitars cling to desperately with a rhythm just right for Henthorn to kick his ‘bubba bad to the bone’ style. It’s certainly another one of the album’s high points.

Surprisingly, perhaps, much of the rhythm guitar work on this collection stems from acoustic guitars. “So Long, Goodbye” is one such tune in which this is the case, which is again complemented by a moving bass line from Fuller. In fact, this is arguably the best guitar work on the album, which is really saying something for an offering in which, notwithstanding the occasional organ or tickle of the ivories, the guitar is the main attraction.

But it’s in the vocal booth that Henthorn really distinguishes himself as an artist, and does the same for this LP, as well.

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