Wussy – Left For Dead

What I Think of When I Think of This Artist (part 2)

This was the first Wussy album I bought, but not my favorite, which is not how those things usually work for me, statistically. Of course, it does have three of my favorite Wussy songs, and overall it is excellent. Obviously, I liked it enough to purchase more Wussy albums. I feel like this is the most straightforward of the Wussy albums, whatever that might mean.

What I Think of This Album

If this is a hair less impressive than Funeral Dress, it is only because it is the second album instead of the debut; had the sequence been reversed, I’d probably be saying the same thing. Left for Dead is a definitely louder and more raucous, but no less haunting or poetic. Lisa Walker handles the bulk of the songwriting this time around, so there is less weirdness in place of an increased obsession with death, sex, and religion.

Chuck Cleaver kicks things off with the elegiac, Doors-referencing (in a good way, trust me) “Trail of Sadness.” “Rigor Mortis” is a duet where Walker and Cleaver strain in desperation against a rust-flecked guitar that eventually breaks out into a Crazy Horse-ish solo, while cars and crosses dot the horizon. The hypnotic riff that powers the superb “Left for Dead,” gilded by bells, masks Walker’s disturbing lyrics about blood, religion, and insects; her honeyed voice sucks you in before you even realize what she’s saying. The standout track here is the carnal “Jonah,” in which Walker employs a slightly sandpapery delivery to suggest “we could get to know each other in the back seat of your van tonight;” more religious iconography pops up in this song with a melody (courtesy of plucked guitars and string-like keyboards) that is heaven-sent. Cleaver takes the lead on the jealousy-rife “Phantom Limb” where things do not end well for “you and me and what’s-his-name.” Walker once again mixes sex and religion on spacey, hushed “Tiny Spiders,” with a pulsating, descending chorus. “Sun Giant Says Hey” is another song deeply informed by the limitations of religion (or the limitations of humans, which is really the same thing articulated differently), but with a bright (duh) arrangement that makes the best of Cleaver and Walker’s voices by giving them intertwined vocals lines and lyrics. It sounds magical and mystical, like druids in the mist. So, too, “God’s Camaro” approaches positivity or at least acceptance, due in large part to Mark Messerly’s accordion. “Melody Ranch” is another loud, distorted song powered by Walker’s voice, full of emotion and danger. Finally, delicate and spooky “Vivian Girls” is not about the band from Brooklyn but the subjects of Henry Darger’s art, born of loneliness, religiosity, and unfulfilled paternal instincts. The producer for this was Afghan Whig John Curley.

The Best Thing About This Album

“Jonah” is short and simple, but with a killer vocal and melody.

Release Date

November, 2007

The Cover Art

Average. I’m not a fan of the font – which looks like something from a pirate’s treasure map – or the colors, and the artwork is not terribly compelling.

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