Saturday, April 14, 2012
thank you, Wikipedia). Through the welter of nicknames printed in the accompanying materials and spoken in the tracks—"the Devil," "J. Devil Huge," "Mr. Boogie Man," "Carlo von Sexron," "Baby Duck"—it's a lot of whipping-hard throbbing three-minute grooves crisscrossed with strange aching moments of balladry, 14 songs altogether in 42 minutes. In retrospect, not much "death metal" here after all, but lots of little surprises: Hughes's Al Wilson wannabe falsetto, the open spaces and textures of the rhythm section, which pound but paradoxically do so with a light touch. In many ways it's all there in the New Wave style inclination toward the one defining cover, in this case Stealers Wheel's "Stuck in the Middle," which they redub "Stuck in the Metal." Hughes also brings a lot of elfin energy to the enterprise, in his coy asides ("I am so lucky to be playing with this drummer right now!") and the furrowed-brow seriousness that seems to attend him. Formally it's just the two of them, but when they perform they make a point of rounding it up to the usual 2 guitars bass drums. For his part, Homme appears happy playing the supporting role for Hughes, whose personality rattles all through everything here. Homme's guitar is the glorious instrument he has always made of it, a beast poised for one's throat. Maybe better get those feet moving, pardner.