Could the new 2013 release of Desperation from Memphis blues-garage superheroes THE OBLIVIANS be the definition of a dream come true? You may have thought this reunion wouldn’t happen again, at least not to this degree.
The Oblivians releasing an entirely new 14-track LP on In The Red AND going on a summer long North American tour? Good gravy, how lucky we are! It’s been a long 16 years since The Oblivians released their last gospel-inspired LP on Crypt Records with New Orleans organist Mr. Quintron …Play 9 Songs with Mr. Quintron. The dudes are back, just a tad bit older, and I suppose we could say a little wiser. Having spent time on their own side projects over the last 16 years, Greg Cartwright with Reigning Sound and The Parting Gifts, Eric Friedl with The Reatards and making Goner Records go ‘round, and Jack Yarber with The Tennessee Tearjerkers amongst many others, The Oblivians are back. Without as much offensive jargon and with a lot more life experience, The Oblivians picked up right where they left off – creating those good ol’ blues inspired foot thumping, hip shaking, and heavy fuzz distorting party anthems.
I have to say, I am a little biased because I am a huge fan of Greg Cartwright’s voice – it makes my heart flutter just a little bit. With that being said, I couldn’t be happier that the album opens up with “I’ll Be Gone.” Cartright has stated in interviews that the opening track is a tribute to the late Jay Reatard and boy what a perky rock n’ roll ode to Jay indeed. Ranging from fast and punchy punk rock heaviness to more soulful, southern-inspired roots, the album is similar to a funfetti cake if you’ve ever had a bite. A nice vanilla frosting coat on the outside, one bite into this sweet little delectable devil and a funfetti sprinkle explosion in your ears, in your brain, everywhere. You had no idea what was behind that frosting, did ya?
A few tracks into the album is “Em,” a foot thumping raucous with a tambourine lightly keeping the beat. Following “Em” is the catchy tune “Call the Police” which is apparently also well known as a Zydeco line-dance song by a woman in the south named Stephanie McDee. She has apparently found Jesus now and doesn’t sing that nonsense anymore. I have a feeling she would not be a fan of The Oblivians, although I’m sure she would be honored. “Oh dear lord, a kick ass garage band has covered my song about drinking booze and eating chicken wings! Praise baby Jesus!” Can someone make this a cartoon strip, PLEASE?
“Run For Cover” opens with a creepy squeal of what sounds like a female, or what could potentially be a seagull, but I can’t really be sure. It’s 2 minutes of fast, bitch slapping, lo-fi, turnstyle goodness. Lots of short, tiny build ups leading to super heavy combinations of consistently loud drumming and intensely high-pitched guitar shreds. Following that, the rest of Desperation is a bit of a grab bag. Each track has it’s own special niche character but they’ve all got that underlying garage-soul edge through and through.
In the end we’ve got quite a solid album from The Oblivians! With the resurgence of the garage scene since Jay Reatard in the late 2000’s up until now, this album is sure impress the new wave of young listeners and draw the interest of the Oblivians fans from day one. Bless you Oblivians!
My Rating: SS
Genre/ Tags: Punk, Garage Rock, Blues Rock
Desperation LP: Tracklist:
1.) I’ll Be Gone
2.) Loving Cup
4.) Woke Up in a Police Car
5.) Call the Police
6.) Pinball King
7.) Run for Cover
8.) Come A Little Closer
9.) Little War Child
10.) Fire Detector
12.) Back Street Hangout
14.) Mama Guitar