Heavy Trash

Midnight Soul Serenade

When it comes to amalgamations of American roots music —
mid-1950s rock ‘n’ roll, country, rockabilly, and assorted styles of
blues, R&B/soul, etc. — most bands usually take one of two
tacks. Some are earnest and respectful (Scott Miller & the
Commonwealth, Steve Earle), while some are over-the-top irreverent (the
Cramps, Billy Childish).

Heavy Trash, the duo of Jon Spencer (as in Blues Explosion) and Matt
Verta-Ray try for a balance of the two — the playing and singing
is heartfelt, but there’s plenty (yet not too much) of nudge-wink
humor, purposefully melodramatic vocals, and so much echo and fuzziness
it may’ve well been recorded in the late Lux Interior’s sub-basement.
“Bedevilment” will warm the hearts of those lamenting the loss of the
Cramps. “Bubble Bee,” an oldie made famous by the Searchers and LaVern
Baker (who wrote it), is given a careening, Yardbirds-like rave-up, and
it’ll likely evoke the feeling of the best Saturday-into-Sunday parties
you’ve ever attended. Give your Barry White and Isaac Hayes discs a
rest and play the loping, bluesy, oozing-from-the-swamp romp
“Isolation” for someone you love (or like a lot) to set some kind of,
uhh, mood.

While this album doesn’t reach the same levels of wiry energy as
their previous Going Way Out With …, Midnight Soul
Serenade
is jolly good fun nonetheless. Who knows, perhaps this
more measured approach might garner new fans. (Big Legal Mess/Fat
Possum)

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