In and Out and Back Again
Evil. Evil. Evil. Evil music. Evil like the Cramps. Evil like the Reid brothers and Bobby Gillespie playing 10 minutes of pure feedback and starting a riot. Evil like Beat Happening singing “Pinebox Derby.” Evil like Hasil Adkins wanting to put his sweetheart’s head up on the wall. Evil like Junior Kimbrough threatening, “You’d better run.” Austin’s (via Florida — how did I miss that?) Woven Bones take the base elements of rock and roll and strip them down even further. A drum kit? Fuck, how about just a snare and bass? (Played standing up, Moe Tucker style, natch.) Guitar and bass? You guys get to learn one chord each and then drench that shit in broken effects pedals, feedback, and general bad vibes. Andrew Burr’s vocals are one long, wounded sneer, a pungent cross between Mark Gardner of Ride, Jennifer Herrema from Royal Trux, and the fella from the Trashmen who gives that nasal gonzo menace to Surfin’ Bird. In and Out and Back Again is gonna be a trying album for the average listener. The formula is simple but consistently thrilling: the drummer pounds out a menacing tattoo, the guitarists whip up a storm of guitar noise (occasionally forming into subliminal patterns shared by Sun Singles and Spectrum seven-inches) and the singer hectors and hurts.
In and Out and Back Again is totally Gothic in its suffocating intensity (as in the Cure and Death in June and Siouxsie singing “Metal Postcard”), while simultaneously bluesy and bratty as hell. Not so much individual songs, this album is one long, glorious, droning march of the damned. I put in the Cramps’ Songs the Lord Taught Us after this, and it felt perfect and right and seamless. In the best possible way, Woven Bones prove that anyone can do this. Hence, you have to do this.