Glamour Puss, |
Wire & Wood
(Northern Blues, 2003)
There are some albums you can be happily absorbed in, and this is one of them. You don't have to drop everything to focus on Wire & Wood; as soon as Glamour Puss starts wailing, with words and horns, for their lost kitty to come home, other sounds become a trivial distraction.
Wire & Wood isn't especially long; the 14 tracks are all under the five-minute mark. Every track makes the most of its time, with no aimless, divaesque solos or repetitious chorus cycles. These are solid, punchy songs, aimed at delivering their sound in a tight, unified way. That economy makes the songs seem more expansive, leisurely in spite of their short running time. These songs will get you up and moving, and the seemingly eternal groove in tracks like "I Don't Know How to Win Your Love" or the energetic title track "Wire & Wood" completely disguise the passing time.
Glamour Puss is primarily a blues band, but they're not shy about visiting other styles. The cajun/zydeco influence is strong and vibrant throughout the album, getting full run in the wonderful "Maman Don't Play No Zydeco" and laughing through the smug "You're Rich I'm Poor." It's hard to imagine Roger Cormier's accordion getting this much use in a normal blues lineup. Even when trying to deliver straight-faced blues, Glamour Puss can't resist brightening things up with a light keyboard line or playful set of rhythms. Bright, flamboyant horns liven up every piece, polishing the layers of unified rhythm and guitar. The album relies heavily on the group's wonderful low, earthy vocals. They deliver the despairing entendre of "Kitty, Kitty" and smiling French patter of "Maman Don't Play No Zydeco" with equal flare, and still shift into an easy storytelling trot for the darkly moral "Million-Air." The fine vocals justify the paucity of instrumental pieces on the album, but "Swinging Cin" and "Blues for Sheila" suggest that this group may have an all-instrumental album in them.
Glamour Puss's Wire & Wood is a brief blues meditation. Put it on, let yourself get caught in the swing of zydeco and the settle into the blues groove. I'm not saying it'll lead you to paradise or absolve you of your sins, but it will help you ace the day in a braver, happier and just plain better mood.