Friday, February 13, 2009

Mick Bassett - Scissors and Suckers

(Sleek Speek Records)

listen at:
(words: milo)

Alright, so I'll start slowly chipping away at this…

But I'm treading lightly…the last time I tried dissecting this wild and whirling, all-cylinders-firing kind of stomping parade rock style, I fell down some terrifying rabbit hole through the squishy, wormy, wordy-mud and drowned the underground soil of my mind in a jumbled splurge of thoughts and feelings…loose cannoned word soup……

I couldn't help it.

It's a flavorful mix. Brazen brass, strutting piano pounds and trilling smoky vocals almost conjure a showy jive and big-band jazz aura ("So I'll Spend All My Time Stuck Right Here In The Middle"). Shifting to accelerative shambly rock-folk ala Blonde on Blonde's fiery taunts blended with Rolling Stones-recalling-swaggering licks ("Scissors and Suckers"), but, later on, anchored by chilly gothic-swilled singer/songwriter folk where we feel possessed by the interlay of performer and instrument ("You're My Chaos"). Bassett's chalky voice, softly scorched by its fare share—albeit for a young man—of cigarette smoke, still hums with a sweet syrupy high-range croon that can sizzle right alongside the sidewinding guitars of the title track, but also finds the flaps to flit up into hypnotic trills on the haunting (but still sway-inducing) opener "Don't You Miss My Ghost".

The spooky march of "Bird On The Line" (re-presented here from a previous 7" single) is still the band's strongest moment – with their bewitching all-hang-out exertive clambering that howls at the moon as it scuffles across the cobblestone roads of Bourbon street in a dizzying undulation of brass and piano that burns with a gritty guitar at its heart and Bassett's roller-coaster vocal melodies that rouse the soul and throw the hands into the air in some glamorous and dusty suspender-ed beat poet yowling untold jazz-inflected sermons.

Last year's Here's The Whirlwind EP was heavy on the hard-rolling indie-rock and freak-folk warbling of Dylan's early "plugged in" periods with perhaps some Devendra Banhart at his most Beatles-y sounding…but Scissors properly showcases the three main organs in the guts of the Marthas make-up –

a.) the stalwart ensemble of guitar, bass, drum, piano and trombone finding the middle ground of sultry glam rock and passionate, tumbling folk ("Give You The City") – b.) cool, grooving jazz inflections and weird bewitching vocal tones and melodies ("Firefly") – and, c.) to have this recording stand as a continuing documentary of Bassett as a burgeoning troubadour, a melding of gritty jazzcat / hip-indie-rocker / romantic-poet, watching him stretch his way through pop-friendly rock, melancholic wistfulness and chilly haunting balladry.

You find it all here…

(more info: or or )

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