Any album -- in this case, Adrian H & the Wounds' second, originally released as Dog Solitude in Germany before getting a self-titled release the following year in the U.S.
-- made by a crew of horror/goth types who like both their cabaret and their Misfits that includes a cover of Mary Poppins' "Chim Chim Cher-ee" has to have something going for it, if only at least a healthy sense of humor.
But from the opening string atmospherics, clearly rasped pronouncements that claim ready descent from both Tom Waits and Dr. John and piano-led drama on "Memory," it's clear that Adrian H and company aren't simply out for either an easy laugh or just simply making a lot of noise. Indeed, it's less frenetic punk rock than barfly lizardry that informs much of this effort, with songs like "Hoist That Rag," with sleazy saxophone taking a key part, helping to set the overall tone. But if it were just that, the nails-on-chalkboard descending guitar lines and slow-burn rhythm chugs of "Dog Solitude" wouldn't be there, either. Moments like the slow breathing tone pace and jackboot industrial funk beats that introduce "That Hurts" -- and the treated piano break is one of several clear nods throughout to Trent Reznor's way around contrasting elements -- show what else is clearly at work.
"Bad Man," which had previously surfaced on Projekt's A Dark Cabaret, Vol. 2 compilation, is as winningly dramatic as before, perhaps the album's most successful narrative song in a Nick Cave vein, while the whistling tones add a little Morricone to it all in turn. As for that Mary Poppins cover? If it's not up to, say, Waits' contribution to Hal Willner's Stay Awake Disney tribute album, it's still a sparkling version that manages the neat trick of both sounding perfect for a Tim Burton remake and sounding like it would be better than anything else about such a putative film project these days.
|Memory / Adrian H & the Wounds||Adrian H / Adrian H & the Wounds||5:51|
|That Hurts / Adrian H & the Wounds||Adrian H / Adrian H & the Wounds||4:31|
|Hoist, That Rag||Adrian H / Adrian H & the Wounds||4:02|
|Dog Solitude / Adrian H & the Wounds||Adrian H / Adrian H & the Wounds||4:19|
|Chim Chim Cher-Ee||Adrian H / Adrian H & the Wounds||3:05|
|Nasty / Adrian H & the Wounds||Adrian H / Adrian H & the Wounds||4:08|
|What She Wants / Adrian H & the Wounds||Adrian H / Adrian H & the Wounds||3:50|
|Bad Man / Adrian H & the Wounds||Adrian H / Adrian H & the Wounds||6:49|
|The Night My Mother Screamed / Adrian H & the Wounds||Adrian H / Adrian H & the Wounds||3:49|
|Border Patrol||Adrian H / Adrian H & the Wounds||5:39|