The Carnivorous Lunar Activities Of Lupine Howl is the debut album from Sean Cook and Michael Mooney, refugees from Spiritualized both. It is a curious creature, not at all wolverine but with a number of species-specific defining features. Amongst these is the huge sleeve, featuring random images of women in bondage scenes. Quite what they have to do with anything on this album defeats me, even after several listens. Maybe it is all about controversy. Whatever, the album is also notable for marking the first time Cook has been a lead singer. He’s been skilling up since he and Mooney were unceremoniosly sacked from Spiritualized, along with the rest of the band. Vocals aside, it is perhaps of little surprise that there are similarities between this and Spiritualized’s output.
It also provides testimony that multi-instrumentalists can exist in rock music. Everything is an instrument on this album – even someone slapping water in a bath on Planet X – but it is heavily skewed towards guitars. After the first few moments of the first track – and after thoughts of Captain Beefheart have been laid aside – it begins to grate. Last year’s single 125 appears alongside a track called Sometimes – no, not a cover of the Erasure song – which sounds like Ozric Tentacles with vocals attached. It offers a relatively gentle start, leading to a powerful climax which works best with the volume way way up. Great if you like manic guitar noise.
Opening track Vaporizer’s main chorus is perhaps the most indistinct yowling heard outside of the heavy metal fraternity and is best fast-forwarded, for Sniff The Glue (which immediately follows) is a rare quiet moment, but highlights the lack of lyrical dexterity which prevails throughout. Most of the lyrics seem to have vague drug themes somehow woven into them, but were probably written on drugs, for all the sense they make. Despite this, the music is accomplished, with Carnival showcasing Cook as a bassist and Lonely Roads achieving a lot with keyboards and production. Cook and Mooney produced this album too – and on this evidence, they are rather good at it.
So – a record about women tied up and drug-induced hallucinations? Just what the doctor howled.