We kick off with Wallwaker – it’s a bit of backwoods Iggy Pop boogie; imagine that character Ig plays in Dead Man just up and nailing the perfect Pop croon over a bit of Southern Culture on the Skids, say. Or even sitting in with an organ-less Deep Purple even. But that’s not representative of this album – even though it’s a fine-enough way to start. Next up we have a Dave Graney/Nick Cave-styled slice of nearly gothic; as if Shivaree had Doyle Bramhall on guitar and vocals. But that’s not representative of Doubled Exposure. Next up with have Bootlegging Blues, and just as the first few songs are all starting to make sense together – this one back to the Iggy-styled cool-charm croon, we’re hit with the nearly 10-minute instrumental Mandoria at Dawn. Here’s it’s as if Steve Gunn hooked up with an Allmans/Dominos tribute-styled jam-band. Oh it’s fucking awesome – but it doesn’t really belong on the same album as anything we heard previously.
Welcome then to the world – and work – of Dave Charles Shuford’s alter-ego D. Charles Speer and his band The Helix.
As soon as that big, loping, chewy, twisty-turning instrumental is over we get the smart-alecky charm-offensive of The Heated Hand, all parlour-games guitar and mild-exotica, twangy country guitars follow up on Red Clay Road; a rather wonderful slice of redneck Americana, were it not a pisstake. C’mon, it’s a pisstake right? Right?
I’m totally digging this album – but it’s a hard-sell on paper – you have to hear it. It’s as if a southern-preacher-styled character-gimmick has stepped up from that hard-sell 2-D world and onto the stage with a kick-ass jam-band that can shift gears from shadowy country-folk (the title track) to silly ole barmy-boogie oddities (Tough Soup).
Shit, it’s bloody good fun. And they nail it. A bit like an American version of the Coral Snakes more I think about it. Good. Good.