Tim and Susan Bauer Lee are arguably the most capable rock ‘n’ roll couple around. Tim’s steely stance and Susan’s dead-on posture make for a tough and tenacious swagger that perfectly accommodates both their stripped down sound and a penchant for elevated amplitude. On the no-nonsense Devil’s Rope, the duo — along with drummer Chris Bratta — steer their punk pose into ‘80s New Wave and Garage Rock terrain, full of agitation, defiance and a cool, confident delivery.
Susan Lee’s vocals are more commanding than ever. On opening track “Signal” she sets the stage for what’s to come, singing the praises of “fast cars and electric guitars, muscle cars and going too far…” while incorporating an edginess and nuance that brings to mind Joan Jett, Patti Smith and Susanna Hoffs, without directly referencing any of those individuals in particular. On the other hand, Tim’s half-spoken-half-sung lead on the tattered and frayed “Jet Boys” provides some rare reserve to good effect. It’s also safe to say that “You’re Not There,” “Open the Door,” “Monkey Dance,” “Alibi” and “Says Baby Strange” are destined to make superb staples for their live set, because even on record, the grit in the grooves shine through. The bitter swipe at the biz evident in “Monkey Dance” notwithstanding, Devil’s Rope provides a perfect playbook when it comes to extolling the thrill and delight that comes from kicking out the jams.
DOWNLOAD: “You’re Not There,” “Jet Boys,” “Signal” LEE ZIMMERMAN