First Appeared in The Music Box, February 2007, Volume 14, #2
Written by John Metzger
Puttanesca’s self-titled debut is not for the faint of heart, though for about 60 seconds, one isn’t likely to notice the dangerous edge that lurks within the band’s music. As bass player Ralph Gorodetsky and drummer Wayne Griffin lock onto a skipping, beatnik groove, front gal Weba Garretson seductively delivers Shift’s sexually charged lyrics with a conversational coo. In hindsight, the darkness is present right from the start, hiding within the tension that resonates through every rhythmic pattern. It doesn’t become apparent, however, until the sharp, stabbing shards of Joe Baiza’s electric guitar poke through the calm with such lightning speed and deadly force that they shove the ambience of the endeavor into an entirely different orbit.
Poised at the unlikely intersection of cabaret jazz and abrasive punk, the entirety of Puttanesca’s eponymous endeavor blurs the line between Bob Dorough and Morphine, particularly when the harsh skronk of a saxophone joins the funky fray on Shiny Red Box. As it progresses, the ensemble’s adventurous concoctions are apt to make sober fans feel woozy while those imbibing in hallucinogenic substances likely will come frighteningly close to severing the thin strands that bind them to reality. The inclusion of a cover of Captain Beefheart’s Lick My Decals Off, Baby ought to serve as a warning, but tucked at the very end of the eponymous collection it, oddly enough, becomes more of a beacon for bringing back sufficiently splattered minds from the brink of their Day-Glo kissed insanity. ½
1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 2007 The Music Box