Tag Archives: withered hand

Sound ‘Round: Wussy / Withered Hand

Love, redemption, love and redemption

Wussy – Attica! (Shake-It)

wussy - atticaLisa Walker begins her band’s fifth album in a corn maze listening to The Who’s “Baba O’Riley,” languished in the same teenage wasteland as Pete Townshend and Keith Moon. The loop-laden track, part homage and part childlike nostalgia, recalls the careless innocence of youth, and marks a distinct change for the Cincinnati quintet – who have kicked-off each of their previous efforts with a pulverizing breakup anthem. Heartache has been the reoccurring theme since their 2005 debut. Walker and co-vocalist Chuck Cleaver were a pair for the band’s first five years, and their respectful, but powerful, tension propelled them through a string of highly listenable records heavy on Midwestern drone and neo country-rock twang. While the lyrics still concern relationships, the dynamic has shifted. Aside from a pair of Cleaver submissions about dissolved accords, the track list is permeated with love songs aggressive, obsessive and tender. Just as emotional reconciliation came naturally over time, so does the band’s growth in sound. Musically, they’ve never been more forceful or diverse – psychedelic fuzz and pedal steel blends seamlessly with mandolins and the whirl of theremin. Everything coalesces, including Walker and Cleaver – whose duet on the finale deals with this band’s prevailing legacy: unity. GRADE: A

Key Tracks: Teenage Wasteland/ To the Lightning” / “Beautiful

Withered Hand – New Gods (Slumberland)

withered hand - new godsThe closing verse on the morally conflicted “Love Over Desire” is a microcosm of Scottish singer-songwriter Dan Wilson’s young discography. Fresh off an international flight en route to his rock n’ roll day job, he leaves his fleshlight at home and compounds the sexual distance between himself and his homebound wife. “Another flower on the coffin of monogamy,” he sings in his creaky timbre. Wilson’s music, a proportional mixture of forthright folk and punk’s dark humor, pits uncompromising personal conviction against the temptation of cardinal sin. His lyrics mesh religious imagery with playfully crass quips about his libido, detailing his emotional psyche with brutal honesty. He’s deep, for sure, but his buoyant melodicism and major-key resiliency adds a lighthearted edge to his otherwise heavy handed ways. He’s extra heavy on the love songs – all earnest, delicate and indicative of a blossoming wordsmith who chooses love over desire every time. GRADE: A

Key Tracks: Fall Apart” / “Between Love and Ruin” / “Not Alone”

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