When I first heard the Red Aunts sing “Sleeping in the Wet Spot,” I would have been hard-pressed to believe they had an album like Ghetto Blaster in them. They have for years been the princesses of raunch, culminating with the sublime record #1 Chicken. That record, with its supersonic tempo and desperate screams and raw, nervy lyrics was the best of its kind, but with their next record, Saltbox, there was a real growth. You could almost feel them growing into a band that could rely on more than adrenaline and guts to play. For the first time some signs of true musicianship started to show. Now, in retrospect, Saltbox was very much a bridge from the old Red Aunts and the new. Now it’s not as if they’ve changed their style. I’d be highly skeptical of that. Rather, their style has evolved and gone to a higher level. Their previous work dealt with destruction, but they’ve moved on to de-constructing the various musical influences that have always driven their songs. Heavy blues, new wave, and classic rock styles get separated and run through the Red Aunts’ giant food processor on “gooify,” and come out as intense, breathtaking, songs. It’s kind of like Jon Spencer Blues Explosion stripped of all of Spencer’s pretensions. The trademark screams and whiplash inducing changes are still in place, it’s just now the girls seem to truly understand where their music is coming from. It is very similar to visual arts, when a painter quits painting solely on instinct and begins to have a true vision. There is always the quite real possibility that this album will turn off as many Red Aunts fans as are enamored by it…
Well, that’s their problem. Get out a little more and realize what life’s all about, it’s not recording the same album every two years. I am thrilled to have been an eyewitness to the evolution and maturity of the Red Aunts. If this album were any better, it’d be illegal.