Proper drone from Wussy on Forever Sounds

fOREVER sOUNDSI'm going to let you in on a secret: there are certain genre pointers that turn up in PR material that inspire the deepest, darkest ennui to rise up within me. Drone. Shoegaze. Psych (especially when preceding 'rock'). Fuzzy. And it's not because I don't like all that stuff; I do. It's that too many new bands employ those terms to suggest that their music is dense, and brooding, and intellectual, when in fact it is dense, and brooding, and shit. So I'd like to thank Wussy for restoring my faith. Because Forever Sounds incorporates all those elements, and it also happens to be an exceptional album.

Wussy began all the way back in 2001, when Chuck Cleaver (formerly of, uh, Ass Ponys) asked Lisa Walker to perform alongside him at an awards show in Cincinnatti, because he struggled with crippling stage fright and didn't want to perform alone. If Cleaver still carries those nerves, they seem to be well masked on a confident 6th record. Opener "Dropping Houses" swaggers in like Yo La Tengo's badass step brother, with Cleaver's bluesy guitar licks providing a satisfying counterweight to Walker's hushed vocals. Like the New Jersey legends, there's also a lot of back-and-forth between male and female lead vocals, with each singer taking turns to share the spotlight. "Donny's Death Scene" is Walker's baby, especially by the time she's hit the beautiful falsetto that accompanies the chorus; elsewhere, "She's Killed Hundreds" is all about Cleaver. The latter is particularly impressive, echoing Pixies at their best, as well as - and believe me, I do not say this lightly - matching them in terms of quality.

They've got a formula that works, and it would be easy enough to stick to it. So it's even more impressive to witness them stack three songs at the back of the album that form a heavenly suite of tender, slow-burn epics. And it works. An album of "Dropping Houses" bruisers would be fine, but tracks like "Majestic-12" and "My Parade" demonstrate how talented and versatile this band have become. The lyrics here are exquisite in places ("You never shined. At least you didn't bruise"), and just as you fear the whole thing could be tipping into something saccharine or overly earnest, they slam the record shut with the wonderfully titled "Folk Night at Fuckies", a brief country ballad that puts a smile back on your face: "As we dance up on the fire escape to that Chumbawumba tape, the one about getting knocked down." So the next time your band e-mails me a picture of four moody lads, knee-deep in effects pedals and affected misery, heads up: I'm sending you this album straight back.

Release: 18th March 2016, Damnably


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