One of Native Howl's prior albums is titled "Thrash Grass," and that title alone will give you a clue about what you're in for with the spiritually-titled "Out of The Garden and Into the Darkness." This is a band skilled to transition from sounding like The Pogues of bluegrass with "Into the Darkness," to a progressive rock act for "Withikaw." Or, to put it more simply, this band's genre description has great potential to be poly-hyphenated.
Just when you think you've covered all your hyphen bases, though, "Reivaeh" comes along featuring vocalist Alex Holycross singing with a Dave Matthews rapid fire cadence. The latter also features some truly beautiful acoustic guitar lines. Members of this band have studied classical music, and it shows. These players can apply the gentle touch, just as well as they thrash. Although The Native Howl has rootsy roots, Americana styles are just some of the tools in its toolbelt. When the act applies overt roots elements, which it does with "Somethin' Else," The Native Howl do so beautifully. This banjo-driven recording is Mumford & Sons-y, only more traditional.
Another hint that The Native Howl is not aiming for pop or country success is song lengths. One of this tracks clocks in at over 12 minutes long, while 2 exceed the 7-minute mark. There's a lot going on here, many times in epic lengths, and most of it is good.
Nobody likes to be suffocating-ly categorized. (Just ask Neil Young). However, it is possible to have fingers in too many pies at once. One wonders if The Native Howl will ever drill down its stylistic focus. For now, though, this is an act only recommended for the adventurous at heart.