Everybody has got the blues today. If it isn’t the economic effects of the recession that sends a band twelve bars closer to the truth then it is the promise of a better life thanks to the rose tinted festival circuit. The Harpoonist & The Axe Murderer (aka Canadians Shawn Hall and Matthew Rogers), however, manage to retain their credibility in that all too common search for crowd pleasing authenticity.
Although performed politely throughout, The Harpoonist & The Axe Murderer barely hide the undercurrent of angular torment that drives the songs on this album along with the harmonica driven quasi gospel of “Are You Listening Lord” standing tall as the prime example of their style. Elsewhere, you get to wonder what kind of albums this Canadian duo have in their record collection as “The Sky Is Falling” evokes thoughts of that The Strokes would sound like with an attack of the down and out blues. On the other hand, “Chevrolet” – there always has to be a song featuring a car, doesn’t there – is more what you would expect of a blues song but is none the worse for that.
“Checkered Past” shows that The Harpoonist & The Axe Murderer can punch above their weight and, indeed, exceed what we have come to expect of white boys playing the blues these days. If you like it a bit rough, then this is the album for you.