Album Review

Wussy - Left for Dead

Wussy - Left For Dead

On their second album, Wussy continue to craft songs that mix deftly casual propulsion with the ache of life's fleeting inevitabilities. Erstwhile Ass Ponys frontman Chuck Cleaver sings about a third of the songs, with Lisa Walker handling the rest, and it's a rich balance. Both favor small narratives that take deeply rooted feelings -- longing, regret, wistfulness, caution -- and set them against gloriously reckless rock 'n' roll grooves. It's like they've run a flag up a pole on a windy day; the flutters give ways to snaps, the seams fray, but the color and design remain intact. The band is particularly arresting when creating counterpoint lines, as on "Sun Giant Says Hey", in which Cleaver's primary vocal is braided with Walker's exuberant responses, the two voices adding up to something greater than either alone. Mark Messerly plays bass, anchoring the band with drummer Dawn Burman, but he also adds an alluring range of colorful settings with his wide-ranging instrumental skills on keyboards, accordion, mandolin and more. The band is capable of ferocious onslaught ("Melody Ranch", "Rigor Mortis"), sprightly pop ("Mayflies"), snaky grooves ("Millie Christine"), garage glory ("Killer Trees", "What's-His-Name"), and even a brief faux-lullaby laced with worry ("Vivian Girls").