This Weekend I’ll Mostly Be Listening to… Wussy and the album Attica! November 12, 2016Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
I’m indebted to EamonnCork for this one, somehow they’d passed me by despite them being one of Robert Christgau’s favourite groups of the last ten years or so. Wussy are Chuck Cleaver formerly of Ass Pony’s (no, me neither), Lisa Walker who worked as a duo for a year or so before pulling in bassist Mark Messerly and drummer Dawn Burman (later replaced by Joe Klug) and additional guitarist John Erhardt who adds pedal steel as well. It’s quite a mixture, I’m reminded in places of the dynamics of Husker Du and perhaps more so, The Hold Steady – the latter a group I’ve always liked but never quite loved. There’s the same sense of contained power unleashed. But whereas the Hold Steady have often seemed to tilt sharply into more poppy territory (or what I’d call poppy) it’s difficult to see quite the same approach with Wussy who are often dark. Sometimes very dark. Pere Ubu comes to mind, if Pere Ubu went a bit more rock.
And Wussy are a guitar group, whatever else they are. Yet the male/female shared vocals are so great at times, with a rootsy power that somehow in all its shouted enthusiasm. But then listen to the drones, feedback, curiously krautrock stuff. And through it all a countryish tinge. More than a tinge.
Teenage Wasteland sums up everything you feel about music and life and whatever during that particular period of life. Somehow it’s in the sheer chaotic life-affirming energy of the guitars and vocals and the simplicity of the piano set against it. Rainbow and Butterflies has a none more bass chunky riff that chugs along as reminiscent of Breeders as well as Sonic Youth. And so it goes. Walker’s voice on North Sea Girls is precise, flinty, delicate. Gene, I Dream is overtly countryish with big epic riffs and percussion. Beautiful a fantastic finale to a genuinely great album.
There’s just something very likeable about the whole deal. And they’ve released a bucketful of other albums since the mid 2000s. Well worth investigating further. Here are Christgau’s reviews over the years – a lot of A’s in there.
Rainbows and Butterflies
North Sea Girls
Gene, I Dream
Teenage Wasteland (Live)