Thursday, May 5, 2011

Holly Golightly & The Brokeoffs (2011) -No Help Coming

Artist: Holly Golightly
Albums: No Help Coming
Date of release: May 2011
Quality: FLAC (tracks)
Size: 226 MB

Holly Golightly was born in London and named after the heroine in Truman Capote’s novella Breakfast at Tiffany’s. She fell under the spell of American roots music the minute she heard her first Stax single and started her musical career playing guitar and singing in punk bands like Thee Headcoatees. Golightly started recording her own albums in the mid-‘90s, drawing on the American singles in her massive collection for influence. She was particularly taken with gospel, blues, and other styles of music from the American South, as evidenced by her original songs, which have a strong retro feel. In 2005, Golightly started performing as a duo with Lawyer Dave, a Texas born one-man band that plays guitar, drums, and occasionally the banjo. No Help Coming is the fourth album they’ve cut as a duo, with Golightly singing and Dave acting as another vocalist and backup band.

On stage, Dave is impressive as he plays drums and cymbals with various foot pedals and wails on slide guitar. It’s natural to think there’s been a bit of overdubbing on the record, although the liner notes are mum on this aspect of the recording process. Still, the duo is responsible for every note on the album, and they make an impressive amount of rhythmic lo-fi noise, emulating the sound of the blues, country, and early rock oldies that inspired their songwriting.

“Burn O’ Junk Pile Burn” opens with a clattering of junkyard percussion and a spooky slide guitar figure from Dave that intensifies the song’s cryptic lyric, the story of a woman trying to scrape by on nothing much. The tune’s vaguely Middle Eastern feel brings to mind the Coasters’ “Little Egypt.” The country blues of the Chess era are the obvious inspiration for “Get Out My House”, a variation on the traditional and oft-covered “Rollin’ and Tumblin’” sporting a catchy chorus and delivered with a jubilantly ragged energy. Dave sings lead on “You’re Under Arrest”, a rocking country-blues tune that details an arrest for drunk driving with plenty of dark humor and a great twang-heavy guitar solo full of distorted chords and gritty bent notes. Golightly takes vocals on the sultry, simmering “The Whole Day Long”, a bluesy song of infidelity. Dave’s erratic slide guitar accents intensify the tune’s sexual tension, while the lyrics are sung at a slow deliberate pace, making every word simmer with a combination of guilt and sinful satisfaction.

The album closes with two covers, Wavy Gravy’s “L.S.D. (Rock ‘n’ Roll Prison)” and “Lord Knows We’re Drinking”, a tune made popular by country crooner Whispering Bill Anderson. “L.S.D. (Rock ‘n’ Roll Prison)” is sung by Lawyer Dave and opens with an impressive psychedelic guitar freak-out, then morphs into a country murder ballad. Dave sings the tune with a cracked, shaky voice that sounds almost comedic, rather than dramatic, which was probably Wavy Gravy’s intent.

Golightly and Lawyer Dave sing “Lord Knows We’re Drinking” as a duet, and it’s one of the album’s most cohesive moments. Anderson’s morality tale is a variation on the Biblical admonition “Judge not lest ye be judged,” a reminder that heaven will welcome all sinners, be they drinkers or teetotalers. The tune has a clever lyric, underlining the problems songwriters face when trying to recreate the feel of yesterday’s hits, and a melody that jumps out at you with a strong tension and release structure. It stands as one of the best songs on the record, with an effortless flow that many of the duo’s originals lack. For fans of retro sounding lo-fi blues, however, there is much enjoyment to be found on the entirety of No Help Coming.

01. No Help Coming
02. The Rest Of Your Life
03. Burn O' Junk Pile Burn
04. Here Lies My Love
05. Under Arrest
06. The Whole Day Long
07. Get Out My House
08. The Only One
09. Leave It Alone
10. River Of Tears
11. Lord Knows We're Drinking
12. LSD (Rock 'n Roll Prison)