Sad Songs… Better Days

Devil Doll

Suplecs? One of my favorite wrestling moves! Belly-to-belly, German, Northern Lights, Overhead Release — let me count the ways! Now that’s a name for a band! Wait a second, is that a luchador on the cover? A variation on Mil Mascaras’ mask? With blood coming out of his mouth! Album of the year, the pin has been counted! I don’t even need to listen to it.

I saw these fellas in Tallahassee a little over a year ago, on a humid night out at the Cowhaus — they fucking smoked it. But in a very strange reversal of the usual order, I’m digging on Sad Songs… Better Days much more than I did the live experience. While that was a good show, this is a damn excellent slice of sludgy pain and anger. And well-produced, to boot! Dave Fortman, ex- of Ugly Kid Joe, has balanced out his musical karma by making this as muddy and nasty and direct as possible. Cheers.

“White Devil” is a grinding drug lament, complete with lyrics about not even wanting to see his girlfriend anymore, the thrill is gone, so long — seedy honesty to match the seedy fuzz of the guitars. There are some sonic parallels between this number and The Melvins’ “Boris.” “Rock Bottom” balances out the heavy-ass guitars with some emotionally heavy crude blues licks that are full of real feeling — and when seemingly everyone is trying their hand at the doom game, it’s very important to pick out the real emotion from fuzz-pedal dilettantes. In fact, Suplecs have a whole lot of blues and old Hank Williams country in them, be it in lyrical themes (woman troubles, running, drugs, death) or in the anguish encased in the amber of those guitar riffs. And two vocalists mean things are changed up enough to keep it fresh and full of pain — “Out Of Town” is a good example, rough but harmonic, and road weary as hell.

“Unstable” is way Mudhoney-fied, not afraid to add some countrified boogie, lots of nervous twitch and the darker end of self-doubt. But what also makes “Unstable” stand out is, tacked to the end, a stunning cover of The Beatles’ “I Want You.” Now I don’t have the heart or the guts to tell them that Coroner beat them to the punch on this in the early nineties, but Suplecs do a pretty fucking cool doom rendering that sheds a whole new light on the words “She’s so heavy.” The riffs ease out like stuttering physical release. Sad Songs… ends with “Unexpected Trauma” and there’s more of that Obsessed/Mudhoney/Stooges sludginess mixed with downtempo idylls of clean guitar and harmonies. Man this is almost… classic. Watch out for the real.

Devil Doll Records:

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