LUCID CULTURE http://lucidculture.wordpress.com/2008/01/05/cd-review-demolition-string-band-%E2%80%93-different-kinds-of-love/
t’s been a few years since Demolition String Band’s fantastic last cd, Where the Wild Wild Flowers Grow and it was worth the wait. This album manages to capture the explosive energy of their live show. In general, it’s more rock-oriented than their other stuff. Frontwoman Elena Skye has been a songwriting tear, and she hits a lot of highs here. The country influence is still in full effect, both in Skye’s mandolin work and Telecaster monster Boo Reiners’ spectacular bluegrass-inflected playing, but even the slower numbers here blaze with the twangy fire they bring to the stage. Considering the direction country radio has taken since the turn of the century, they couldn’t have released this album at a better time.
The cd opens with their big crowd-pleaser Who Taught You, with its catchy chorus of “hurt so bad.” The second track, the powerful, minor-key, midtempo backbeat-driven Your Wish may be the single best song on the album, a feast of guitar and mandolin textures. Wisteria is the obvious hit single, with its gorgeous intro and rolling, clanging, multitracked guitars (there must be about six of them on this tune), sounding like a Laura Cantrell rock song. It’s urban Americana at its best: “Wisteria on the hills of Jersey City.” After that, Baby Come Home is a traditional country song, but far more lushly arranged than your typical Nashville commercial fare, with mandolin and electric over a bed of acoustic guitars. Real Good Mama, dedicated to Skye’s daughter, is an optimistic number driven by incisive, heartfelt Reiners fingerpicking. They also do a surprisingly scorching, guitar-fueled version of the Ola Belle Reed classic Undone in Sorrow (an acoustic version of which appears on Where the Wild Wild Flowers Grow). After a sizzling Reiners electric bluegrass instrumental, the cd winds up with the boisterous Drinkin’ Whiskey, which will no doubt be useful to connoisseurs looking to differentiate between “your sellin’, and your drinkin’ whiskey.”
The rhythm section of Winston Roye on bass and the ubiquitous Phil Cimino on drums swings like crazy. Reiners’ Telecaster work is smart, effortlessly virtuosic, and hits the mark every time, imbued with a wit that runs the gamut from very subtle to completely off-the-charts funny. Skye’s vocals are raw, direct and potently real: she doesn’t try to fake a Bible Belt accent like the amber waves of gruesomely affected trendoids who’ve grown weary of imitating Sonic Youth and picked up their acoustic guitars.
Memo to college radio program directors: get your hands on this and spin Thinking About Drinking til you’re sick of all the audience requests. Memo to frathouse social directors: get your hands on this and put it on about 2 AM on a Friday night if you really want to keep the party rolling. Memo to the rest of the college population: if you have the means and the energy to do the Spring Break thing, leave the Jimmy Buffett, the Kenny and the Dave Matthews at home and bring this instead. It’s early in the year, but this album will definitely be on a lot of Best Of lists: watch this space about a year from now. Four bagels with a pitcher of strong bloody marys. What a great way to kick off the new year.