Wussy | Strawberry

Shake It (2011)
By DAN WEISS  |  November 22, 2011
4.0 4.0 Stars

wussy-m

Wussy's a brilliant Cincinnati four-piece for whom the local record shop turned into a label. Imagine R.E.M.'s oddball songwriting crossed with Hüsker Dü's factory-like fervor and the Mekons' vast inventory of folk noises, and you're still nowhere near the lyrics, which combine Richard and Linda Thompson's rueful ruminations with Tom Waits's diner-corner yarns. Now teleport to the 2000s, where even great bands aren't this consistent or melodically thoughtful. Other than singer-guitarist Chuck Cleaver (ex–Ass Pony), they've barely been inside the business besides raking in raves since they bowed six years ago with the perfect Funeral Dress. Where to go from there? Both louder and softer, it seems, on Strawberry, stretching themselves with muscular force on "Pulverized" and "Fly Fly Fly," and with Lisa Walker's newfound swamp howl on "Chicken." "Waiting Room" and "Little Miami" explore Yo La Tengo–style quietude, and the lyrics find all sorts of color in between: "The gleam in your eyes like you'd taken a dare," "shatter like a mirrorball," and in the best (and most rueful) track, two real-life exes sing, "Does he cross all your T's/ Does he dot all your I's/ Does he tell you more believable lies?" They don't make bands like this anymore.
  Topics: CD Reviews , Music, Cincinnati, rock,  More more >
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