Sign up for our newsletters   

Baltimore City Paper home.

music Home > Record Reviews

Sound Tracks

Harry Pussy: You'll Never Play This Town Again


Harry Pussy: You'll Never Play This Town Again

Label:Load
Format:Album
Media:CD
Release Date:2008
Genre:Rock/Pop

By Raymond Cummings | Posted 11/19/2008

From its formation in 1992 until its 1997 split, Miami scuzz trio Harry Pussy--guitarists Bill Orcutt and Dan Hosker, alongside screamer/drummer Adris Hoyos--practiced a particularly pithy, violent form of noise punk. You'll Never Play This Town Again, which collects assorted out-of-print vinyl recordings circa '97, documents a delicious psychosexual tension between these players: again and again, Orcutt and Hosker fat-finger their phallus-like axes with porn-star intensity while Hoyos' out-of-breath geek-girl veneer slips to reveal inhuman, Linda Blair-in-The Exorcist vocal malfeasance. Eighty minutes of this panic-attack fare would grate if the task of distinguishing songs and various takes were easier; thankfully, though, brevity was one of Harry Pussy's many virtues. The band also had a sense of humor, leavening its smoldering canker-sore aesthetic with random stage banter and unlikely covers.

Immediately following a raw live version of "Chuck!"--feral yelps straddling quick, tuneless riffs like bucking broncos--Hoyos declares, "We're the Toxic Drunks, and we have Harry Pussy records and T-shirts for sale." The five versions of "Smash the Mirror" here range from suggestively and to-the-point blunt in January '97 (the swift-thrusting guitars seeming to presage Hoyos' abbreviated barks) to giggly staggered and shambled that May. A bashing, shouting take on Kraftwerk's "Showroom Dummies" sounds nothing like the original, while the handful of "Mandolin" incarnations display the trio's nascent ability to carve a contemplative, art-rock sensibility out of zippy chaos. Ultimately, Town's nerve-jangled no-wave sear comes off as straight Lower East Side 1980, right down to the sparse smatterings of applause that trailed the live performances and Hoyos' hippie-mocking poetry on "Peace of My Ass," adding an extra layer of disorientation to this grandly spasmic enterprise. Harry Pussy's spirit lives on in any number of noise and underground extremists, but it's hard not to wish the trio kept it carnal cacophony going.

Comments powered by Disqus
Calendar
CP on Facebook
CP on Twitter