Howlin' Anton Bleak identifies himself as the voice of death blues on the UK side of the Mississippi. Tone deaf blues would be an alternative name.
Bleak grew up in Siberia and this accounts for a heavy melodically challenged Russian accent which brings to mind Eugene Hütz of Gogol Bordello. His gruff vocals sound particularly incongruous when covering Hank Williams' Lost Highway, an oddity made stranger still by the addition of Rachel Woodworth's screechy voice.
The deep and doom-laden half-spoken delivery is better suited to Cowboy From Hell, a haunted tale which features Hana Piranha of Brighton's Birdseatbaby on harp.
His voice is also quite effective on the spooky Become the Sun on which co-producer Ays Kura plays Theremin.
Takatsuna Mukai's violin makes In the Land of Snow a standout and it's a pity he only plays on this track.
Almost all the ten tunes would make for rousing drinking songs best attempted after downing one too many vodkas. Listened to while stone cold sober the effect is much weirder. But for the fact that the singer sounds deadly serious it could easily be mistaken for self parody.
Hear Stranger Country on Bandcamp