Music Reviews
Reid Paley Trio

Reid Paley Trio

Approximate Hellhound

Metaphor Rhythms

Brooklyn-based Reid Paley is a former Pittsburgh punk legend who is perhaps best known as a longtime friend and songwriting partner of Frank Black. Backed by Eric Eble on the Czechoslovakian upright bass and drummer James Murray, Paley spins his noir-ish tales of failure with bone-dry sarcasm against blues-rock settings tinged with hints of jazz and country.

But it is Paley’s voice that most folks won’t be able to make it past. That voice is a bourbon-fueled growl that brings to mind Tom Waits, Nick Cave, and perhaps the Cookie Monster. It’s a gruff voice from the depths of hell with a bad attitude. Paley sounds like a guy who’s been drinking for three days and he thinks he’s ready to pick a fight.

“There’s people gonna tell you / That your life can go to hell / But how you gonna get there / When you’ve got no soul to sell?” Paley sings on one of the more upbeat tracks here “Everything is Going Wrong (& That’s Alright).”

With a 30-minute run time, Approximate Hellhound is a short record. But any more time spent in this guy’s world might just bum you out for an entire day. So when Paley wraps up the ten song set with the most bottom of the barrel drinking song you’ve ever heard, you’re all too happy to move along.

Paley clearly isn’t for everyone. But if you’re looking for an antidote to the chirpy stuff on the radio or you’re looking to give somebody the blackest lump of coal in their holiday stocking, it’s hard to beat Approximate Hellhound.

Reid Paley:

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