Sunday, December 8, 2013

Lydia Lunch & Rowland S. Howard - "Shotgun Wedding" CD

Classic swamp-blues rock from some legends

This is an expanded, remastered reissue of Lunch & Howard's classic 1991 album, which in my book remains a linchpin of either artists' separate careers. In fact, I'd wager this to be Howard's finest work since his Birthday Party days. It's a shame he's not around to add to that fine legacy. Still, "Shotgun Wedding" is a swampy post-punk affair full of dark edges and seductive textures. J.G. Thirlwell's dry, raw production is perfect, capturing an essential tension and junkie back-alley sinew. In short, this is a great album.

Opening with the iconic and slithery "Burning Skulls", the album moves forward to a gloriously gloomy (and bluesy) cover of Led Zeppelin's "In My Time Of Dying". "What Is Memory" is a skeletal showcase for Howard's prickly, twangy guitar-work. "Pigeon Town" is another highlight, being a rowdy swamp-blues affair, again highlighted by Howard's tight guitar. The album's closer is quite possibly the pinnacle, being Alice Cooper's magnificent "Black Juju" -- a slithery, snake-like trance rock track that hits some intense and dynamic highs. Between Howard's potent riffs and Lunch's cynical, aggressive vocals, "Shotgun Wedding" is a marvelous and memorable dark-edged rock trip, and one that just gets better with age.

This reissue adds Lunch and Howard's fine studio cover of Lee Hazlewood's "Some Velvet Morning", as well as 5 live recordings of fair to bootleg quality. And although these bonus additions aren't quite up to the quality of the album itself, it's certainly worth a look for serious Lunch or Howard fans. 

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