Wussy | Strawberry

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


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.
Related: Rubblebucket | Omega La La, CSS | La Liberacion, Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks | Mirror Traffic, More more >
  Topics: CD Reviews , Music, Cincinnati, rock,  More more >
| More

Most Popular
Share this entry with Delicious
  •   THE MEN | NEW MOON  |  March 06, 2013
    They're just a band, they insist; they didn't realize that a name as authoritative as the Men makes a band look, well, definitive and self-important.
  •   TORRES | TORRES  |  February 26, 2013
    Twenty-two-year-old Mackenzie Scott's homemade music floats somewhere between the cathedral jangle of 10,000 Maniacs and the buzzy churn of EMA.
  •   RE-ENDTRODUCING DJ SHADOW  |  December 07, 2012
    After a long phone conversation, the last thing I asked Josh Davis, was, if at age 40, he still had something to prove.
    Well, now it's official: the title of every record Nicki Minaj ever makes will include the title of every other record she's ever made.
  •   TITUS ANDRONICUS | LOCAL BUSINESS  |  October 18, 2012
    That intersection of punk and prog isn't new, but the prog/punk back-to-basics album is. Enter Titus Andronicus.

 See all articles by: DAN WEISS