Thursday, 13 October 2011

Phoebe Killdeer & The Short Straws - Innerquake


Here's a killer album from Phoebe Killdeer, formerly of Nouvelle Vaque and many other contributing journeys, not that I am that familiar with this past. And though I often pontificate on musical lineage, all that matters here is the present and this powerful set of eleven gritty and often bluesy tracks.

Opener Pedigree begins in Led Zep guitar mode just to put meat on the plate. It's a raucous and raw start, industrial sounds filling the background. Innerquake is a funky follow-up with anthemic chorus. An early beauty is third track The Fade Out Line, all bluesy and cool, especially with the narrated lines leading to the dropping, moody chorus. Fourth Scholar is a rocker reminiscent of P J Harvey's early work. All the time Killdeer's full and sensuous vocal leads and controls. Seventh Highway Birds is a slow brooding number, beginning to the echo and feedback screech of a distant guitar, then driven by thumping drums and the hit metal pipe a la Tom Waits, a stated influence on Killdeer - the way he makes industrial loops out of organic sounds and the variety of sounds he uses (from white noize to chickens to hammer sounds). The eighth track Twisted keeps it slow and again foregrounds the narrated voice but also Killdeer at her vocal best because when the talk turns to singing it is a sweet and beautiful transfer. I'd have liked more of this pure vocal throughout. Closer Up & Down keeps that unaffected vocal to the fore, another blues but as ballad and with background reverb guitar again providing a sensual and haunting atmosphere.

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