The Black Belles, The Black Keys, The Detroit Cobras, Jace Everett, The Dead Weather.
Deathproof, The Switchblade Sisters, Girl on a Motorcycle, Faster Pussycat! Kill! Kill!
Leather, denim, gingham, bouffant hair, pussy bows.
If any of the above appeal to you, hop in your Chevy and zoom down to your local record store to pick up Wicked Will, the fourth album from Nashville-based garage rock trio The Ettes.
Drummer Poni Silver, complete with a hairdo that’s somewhere between Jimi Hendrix and Tommy Lee, pounds the drums with a sexy intensity guaranteed to result in the unplanned pregnancies of the band’s audience members. Jem Cohen is as flawless as he is distorted on bass, and Coco Hames rounds out the band with a guitar like electrified tumbleweed, a face like a grown-up kewpie doll and a voice like smoked whiskey.
They may have a touch of 50s kitsch about them, but unlike some other bands referencing that era The Ettes are also dark, dangerous, and all grown up. Their music ranges from country to rockabilly to dark and dirty rock, but a pervasive creepy chill unifies the album.
Smart lyrics complement the smart sounds. “Every time you smile I can tell you’re just showing your teeth”, snarls Coco on Teeth. On Pendulum she sings “I could be your friend or I could just go and break you”, but ‘tough girl’ is just one facet of Coco’s persona. Elsewhere relationships are dissected with a self-examining introspection not always associated with garage rock. Contrast between the music and the lyrics is also used well, such as on Heart where Coco tenderly sings “I’m not gonna break your heart, that’s not what I’m here to do,” over a frenetic rockabilly beat.
There’s a lot of rock n roll here but no rock posturing. There are references to the past, but no nostalgia. What you will get for your money are fourteen tracks that will haunt you, make you think, and make you move.
Kathryn van Beek
Click here to listen to Teeth from Wicked Will: