16.73 Out Of Stock
If Johnny Dowd didn't exist, we'd need some weird sort of consortium -- keyed by David Lynch, Captain Beefheart, and the ghost of Edward Hopper -- to invent him. The Upstate New Yorker, long fluent in an audio noir dialect that's earned comparisons to Beefheart and Tom Waits, takes a turn for the visceral on this aptly titled disc, underscoring his white-knuckled tales with a rhythmic brawn that conjures up images of the JB's playing through a broken-bottle brawl. Those gnarled sonics amplify the inexorable horror of "House of Pain," an unblinkingly spun tale of a man who seeks salvation (or some facsimile thereof) through self-emasculation. Dowd puts his pulpit-pounding delivery to equally good use on "Praise God," a (so to speak) walking blues on which his wheelchair-bound protagonist fires verbal salvos at the politicians who sent him into the line of fire during wartime. Dowd and his eerily synchronous band take plenty of left turns as well -- from the Sun Ra-worthy squalling of "Unwed Mother" to the most menacing "Johnny B. Goode" this side of Rock and Roll Hell -- making Cruel Words the sort of smorgasbord that should sate any hunger for sonic discomfort food.
|Label:||Bongo Beat Records|