Album review.
Artist : Mahouts
Title : It Might Be Hot Outside But The Dirt Is Cold (2020)

Soulful tales of Southern Wales.

Mahouts’ debut album begins with ‘Don’t Tell Catherine,’ a smooth mix of acoustic and electric. As the song builds, Mahouts introduce layer after layer of their distinctive sound: first some crisp vocal harmonies, elements of minimalist percussion, the welcome inclusion of a bass line, and finally a southern rock style electric guitar solo. This sets the tone for the organic sound of the rest of the album. These eight tracks are the sound of musicians enjoying their craft.

Throughout the record, their menacing, slide-guitar tones evoke the power of southern style blues. Think Seasick Steve or Alabama Shakes, only singing tales of South Wales instead of the deep south.

Much like these other modern troubadours, Mahouts have their own style of storytelling. Lyrical vignettes like ‘Some Nights I Hear Her Call My Name’ speak of soul searching, personal struggles and journeys. These quasi-religious themes continue with ‘The Devil Comes to Glynhafod’ where lead singer Dorian Richard Holmes showcases his powerful voice.

With the exception of ‘Gypsy Gold,’ the second half winds down into a more reflective mood. ‘Let Me Rest My Head’ strikes just the right tone for an outro. The sweeping guitar notes paint pictures of a vast, open road. The calming vocal refrain of ‘We’re leaving soon, let me rest my head,’ usher you to journey’s end. Like Kings of Leon’s ‘Arizona’, this album closer is restful yet speaks of adventures to come.

Clocking in at a compact 32 minutes, ‘It Might be Hot Outside, But The Dirt Is Cold’ is at once relaxing and energizing- a hard balance to achieve. This album will be especially loved by fans of blues rock, but the appeal does not end there. Mahouts are not just musicians: they are soulful storytellers with stories worth telling

Osian Lewis