Hoots & Hellmouth is a trio from Philadelphia consisting of Sean Hoots, Andrew ‘Hellmouth’ Gray and Robert Berliner, with Sean and Andrew Gray being the primary songwriters/singers, and The Holy Open Secret is their sophomore effort.
The Holy Open Secret was recorded at Philadelphia’s American Diamond Studio with Bill Moriarity (Dr. Dog, Man Man) sharing the producing credits, and what an interesting cd they birthed. Quirky, catchy and an all around good time, it only falters when the band tries to settle into a more traditional sound/feel. There are sounds and influences galore on this cd and it seems to be at it’s best when they let go of the reins and let them just run amuck. I think PopMatters summed it up perfectly when they reviewed the album, “The album wrings a lot from the tension between the band’s two songwriters and vocalists, Sean Hoots and Andrew “Hellmouth” Gray. Hoots’ songs are generally the better ones. His melodies move in more unexpected directions—the soulful gospel vibe and bluegrass rhythms seem to be his contribution. In comparison, the Hellmouth tracks—mostly contemplative singer-songwriter ballads—seem very routine and predictable.”
Slow points aside, The Holy Open Secret is certainly worth checking out.