Howlie Week has begun! Each day, Sounds Good will premiere a song from the new Dead Dog EP from Howlie. This is a huge honour as I’ve become a fan of his work since we got in touch last year and we’ve also become pretty good buds too. Today we’re premiering ‘Laying in the Road’, the closing track of Dead Dog, and this is what Howlie had to say on it:
“Tying directly to the subject matter of “Coconut Oil,” “Laying In the Road” is the ribbon that wraps up this dream pop experiment of mine. This was another song I couldn’t get to sound quite right on the acoustic guitar. It was missing something. That something turned out to be a Boss Chorus pedal, the Superego pedal by Electro-Harmonix, and an obscene amount of reverb.
When this was on the acoustic guitar, it was almost double the speed and a lot louder. Slowing it down and letting the vocals drag was definitely the way to go. I really pushed my falsetto to the top with this song.
This song was finished in December of 2016, but the lyrics are taken from several writing experiments I did out in the woods during the summer. Being happy rules, but it’s not so good for writing Howlie stuff. I grew tired of my writer’s block and forced out some stream-of-consciousness songs in an attempt to stay productive. “I’ve been laying in the road,” and, “I held my breath in Ashfield Lake” are two notable examples from two different songs that were scrapped.
I remember thinking this would be a great album closer for the eventual full-length that I’ve been working on forever. Cohesively and thematically, however, this song fits right at home with the rest of the EP. I like to think that the line “Y’know, I’m so sick of feeling miserable about myself” coupled with a few major chords gives an air of hope, and maybe the start of not feeling miserable about myself. The line “I am no Helius” is a reference to Helius from Greek mythology. His palace is the sun, so it’s believed that his eye could see all. This has it’s perks, and it’s said that Helius nobly told Hephaestus about the affair between Ares and Aphrodite. This line came from another stream of consciousness exercise, and ties into the overall theme of most of my writing: I’ve done a lot of questionable, lousy things as a result of having questionable, lousy things happen to me. This song addresses that in the same way that I’ve addressed my way of life over the past year and a half, and it felt good to put it onto paper.”
‘Laying in the Road’ closes out Dead Dog with a final adventure into the unknown as Howlie explores more of the Dream Pop elements that dominate this EP. More mid-paced guitars feel the airwaves with a swollen pool of murky tone thick with reverb, while vocals ring out into the midst. Howlie’s voice delivers a sense of hopefulness as it combines nicely with major chords to bring a brief cameo of optimism into the track’s final moments.
It’s a brilliant way to close out Dead Dog as it seems to drag itself out of the slumber that the EP slumps itself in. It’s as if the EP’s all about projecting the state of mind Howlie was in at the time he wrote each of the four songs featured, and allows ‘Laying in the Road’ to act as closure by ending it with it’s uplifting finale. Tomorrow brings the end of Howlie Week with a solid delivery of the DEAD DOG EP and an interview with Howlie too. See you tomorrow!