NOTHING GROWS FROM SCARS - Wrong Turn (Off The Hip)
You really want to hear another trumped-up, strung-out cover of the Heartbreakers' "Baby Talk"? I mean, could anything live up to the self-pitying, burned-out nastiness of the original? Yes, and it does. Read on.
Wrong Turn is a duo from Melbourne that's steeped in al the arrogant swagger and saliva-flecked crudities that fuel the best rock and roll. Bassist-turned-guitarist Ian Wettenhall was in the Philisteins, Freedloaders, latter-day Seminal Rats and contemporary outfits Lords of Gravity, Hands of Time and Stoneage Hearts, while drummer Todd McNeair has played with Powdermonkeys, Seminal Rats and Hoss. Nice pedigree.
Nowadays, everyone wants to be a duo - and why not? The overheads are lower, the fee only goes two ways, and you can get as full as a fat lady's boot, forget the lyrics to some Leadbelly song and call the whole mess 'Bent Blues'. On the other hand, blues is a starting point rather than a modus operandi for Wrong Turn who infuse their own and other people's tunes with so much punk attitude that chestnuts as hoary as "Slow Down", "Skinny Minny" and "Nervous Breakdown" end up with sore nuts and a nosebleed.
A fair spread of covers on this but Wrong Turn do write their own stuff which is pretty good. But I'm betting it''ll be a handful of the borrowed songs that draw the most applause live. (It certainly seemed that way the night I caught them but that's sort of understandable, given it was one of their first shows.) Jerry Nolan hisself would like the monstrous fills on "Baby Talk", and while an original song like "Can't You See" clearly owes its parentage to the old bluesmen its public persona is that of a bastard.
You pays yer money and ya gets 13 songs, all of them keepers. It's a simple story on the surface but it's all in the telling. McNeair is a wonderful drummer when he has a meaty tunme to sink his teeth into, and Wettenhall has taken to six strings with a vicious relish. It's a pity he had to break up the Lords of Gravity in the process, but that's another story.
The band name is slightly ironic given that an original song like "So Fine" takes a detour into the Modern Lovers' "Roadrunner". It all makes sense in the end and makes for a satisfyingly bumpy journey.
Buy without fear, especially if you have a handle on both band members' previous work.- The Barman
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