Following the career of the Ettes has always been a pure
pleasure – the Nashville
trio has consistently moved from strength to strength, with each LP being
better than the last. Wicked Will doesn’t feel like the quantum leap between Look
at Life Again Soon and the frankly amazing Do You Want Power, but that doesn’t mean it’s a weak record. Far
from it, in fact – the album teems with strong songs and performances.
Leader Coco sounds as
assured handling buzzing pop tunes like “Trouble With You” and “My Heart” as
she does snarling pounders like “You Never Say” and “Excuse.” The threesome
indulges in a little folk rock (“Teeth”), a spot of Spaghetti western acid balladry
(“The Worst There Is”), a throbbing tribal groove (“One By One”) and some
savory psychedelia (“You Were There”). This isn’t dilettantism – the band has
such a firm grasp on its craft that not only does it handle every stylistic
variation with aplomb, but it imprints its own distinctive, tuneful personality
on every track.
Moving back to the quick-and-dirty presentation of their
early work (a by-product of Coco’s busbabe’s holiday in the Parting Gifts with
the Reigning Sound’s Greg Cartwright, perhaps; the album also finds them
reunited with British producer Liam Watson) the Ettes keep Wicked Will simple and memorable, no matter
which of their musical facets they choose to flash.
Heart,” “One By One,” “The Worst There Is” MICHAEL TOLAND
Ed. Note: Wicked
Will is also being issued on vinyl by the
recently reactivated Sympathy For The Record Industry label, which released the
group’s 2005 debut Shake The Dust. Read the recent BLURT interview with the band here.