Bouncer/vocalist/film director Cory McAbee has been kicking
around the biz for twenty years; short twisted films such as The Ketchup and Mustard Man and an Eraserhead-like feature, The American Astronaut. Along with sound-tracking
those flicks, McAbee, an absurd consciousness-streaming lyricist (think Stan
Ridgway) and a pointy voiced singer formed a band The Billy Nayer Show.
BNS albums like The
Villain that Love Built and Rabbit leapt from Angelo Badalamenti-like grandeur to cowpunked odd pop, with McAbee
doubling on ukulele and autoharp. Ok, that description sounds like Wall of
Voodoo with a smoother crooner, right? Still that doesn’t prepare for the
dramatic, silly and slippery BNSpTBNS.
While its arrangements go from moody hillbilly ballads (Riding Horses”), Waits-ian
ping-pong-skronk (“Henry Joe”), quietly slithering funk (“Reno”) and autoharp-driven lullaby chamber
pop with yawning country twitches (“Wrong
Highway”), McAbee’s lyrics dip into callous
character studies, showy mantras and weirdly wired romantic allegory. “I will
give her a piece of coal for a heart,” whispers a double-tracked McAbee through
the psychedelic twinkler “Snow Girl,” before going into a full-bore
clarion-clear howl about an imaginary girl built of snow and dirt and clay.
While all of this should seemingly make for a difficult
listening hour, BNSpTBHS is cool,
clear and filled with epic melodies, small and immense, each of which is more
contagious than the song before it. Listen to it once and you’ll listen to it
six times in a row. I did.
DOWNLOAD: “Reno” “Wrong Highway” “Who Do You Sue?” A.D.