"Raw, Clever & Tough-as-Nails" - HEAVY METAL

Nashville Pussy - Up The Dosage Review [4/5 Stars] 

Although Nashville Pussy’s frontman/guitarist Blaine Cartwright invites listeners to “Come and take a ride on [his] descent” on the caustic burner “Spent,” listeners will have a tough time spotting evidence of any decline. Up the Dosage, the sixth studio full-length from the Georgian rockers, largely abandons the hyper-sexualized psychobilly that made early releases sizzle, but continues their evolution towards grizzled Southern beard metal, especially prevalent on 2009’s From Hell to Texas.

Cartwright favors a charismatic, gravelly sneer on this release, sparingly using his scream, which has been known to start barn fires during the driest months and grow muttonchops on a baby.

But this review shouldn’t be about what the album’s not, it should be about what it is: a raw, clever, tough-as-nails offering of greasy-spoon rock’n’roll that feels like Skynyrd for the depraved and Motörhead drunk on moonshine – the perfect background music for nude motorcycle rallies and whiskey-drinking competitions.

From the hedonistic charge of “Rub it to Death” to the crusty, electric blues of “White and Loud,” lead guitarist Ruyter Suys provides the grit necessary to bring Cartwright’s world of muddy-gutter outlaws and drug-fueled misbehaving to life. Often listed as one of the greatest female guitarists, I’m done with using gender to qualify her abilities: She’s one of the best rock guitarists I’ve seen or heard, period. The fact she and Cartwright are married doesn’t matter in the music, but does provide smiles while listening to the sleazy tales of infidelity.

Although I would have left the Joan Jett-esque interlude “Taking it Easy” on the cutting room floor, the album shows the band pushing beyond prior genre boundaries. Still, even while working in smudges of honky tonk and bluegrass (on “Before the Drugs Wear Off” and “Hooray for Cocaine, Hooray for Tennessee” respectively), it never sounds like anything but a Nashville Pussy record.

While humor has always been a significant part of the band’s allure – perhaps only topped by their seedy sex appeal – it’s the disciplined musicianship that transforms a track with potentially crippling kitsch like “The South’s Too Fat to Rise Again” into something more than novelty. With Eddie Spaghetti of Supersuckers on board as a songwriting accomplice, the wit’s never been sharper, and the jokes rarely filthier.

Nashville Pussy, hopped up on good weed and bad coke, are the absolute embodiment of sex, drugs, and rock’n’roll, and Up the Dosage is another valuable guide in how to make bad decisions sound really damn tasty.

 

(released January 21, 2014 on Steamhammer/SPV Records) 

Sean Frasier