Omar & the Howlers - The Screaming Cat

Omar & the Howlers
The Screaming Cat


First Appeared at The Music Box, December 2000, Volume 7, #12

Written by John Metzger


With a guttural growl as thick as the swamps surrounding the Mississippi Delta, Kent "Omar" Dykes infuses his blues songs with a hardy intensity. In fact, the front man for Omar & the Howlers was born in McComb, the same backwater Mississippi town that gave us Bo Diddley. Dykes has since taken up residence in Austin, Texas, and his music now blends elements of both of these worlds.

On Omar & the Howlers' latest release The Screaming Cat, the band unleashes a thick, swampy mix of rock and blues that touches upon the Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix, The Doors, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Widespread Panic, and, of course, Bo Diddley. The group muscles its way through the album's twelve tracks, hurdling through each song full-bore and never removing its hand from the throttle.

The title track is an ominous heady swirl of echo-laden vocals and heavy-handed rhythm, and the raucous One Hundred Pounds of Pain rails against its Bo Diddley-backbeat, threatening to skip off the track at any moment. Such is the way that the entirety of The Screaming Cat plays out. Consequently, Omar & the Howlers' 14th album is an exhausting effort, best suited for the right mood when one needs a jolting triple-shot of espresso. starstarstar

The Screaming Cat is available from Barnes & Noble.
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1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!


Copyright 2000 The Music Box