The Ettes are something-old and something-new in one fabulous package of a tough-as-nails power-trio. The group, currently based out of Nashville, delivers a powerful beat-punk record with a 60’s pop twist on their fourth studio album Wicked Will. Produced by Liam Watson (The Kills, White Stripes) and available August 2, 2011 the group immediately sets out on an extensive tour in support of the new album including a Livestream from The Knitting Factory on August 3.
Coco Hames (vocals, guitar), Jem Cohen (bass) and Poni Silver (drums) have found a voice in Nashville in the last three years, and returning to Liam Watson as a producer was just the thing to give these seasoned musicians a voice, and boy what a voice indeed. Comfortable in their own skin and willing to tell it like it is, Wicked Will is a glimpse into the hard heart of a woman who as been wronged, and who has done wrong.
“Excuse” is the first single off the album and leads out with a fuzzy bass rhythm that doesn’t let up, full on rage is bursting from the seams and gives the listener an idea of what to expect from the next 13 tracks. Coco’s voice is reminiscent of a 60’s girl group lead, one could imagine her singing for the Ronettes.
Part of the charm of this group is the gritty and true-to-life lyrics that tell the tale of some old souls. “Teeth” is a standout, with a slow easy rhythm and honky-tonk feel the story is one we’d expect to hear in a dark bar, and after too many beers. on’t be surprised if this song gets picked up for a Tarantino flick with dark imagery and catchy hook it would certainly be at home.
“My Heart” is a jangling number, country in roots but made modern with Coco’s clever lyrics and sharp delivery, reminiscent of Wanda Jackson’s “you do what I say” attitude and she’s not delivering a warning but making a statement that makes clear she’s aware of what’s happening…. “I mean what do I expect/To put a rope around your neck/And just declare you property/Well babe you know it isn’t me” Poni Silver and Jem Cohen knock it out of the park on this track, the solid percussion and bass create a stage for Coco’s voice, and she uses it to full advantage.
Lee Hazleton’s “My Baby Cried All Night Long” gets reworked and delivered without apology. This smartly covered number ties the album together, and suddenly it’s clear that the album is delivering the tale of a tumultuous love.
“The Worst There Is” closes the album and ends the half-hour ride with an overwhelming sense of realization. “When you’re the worst there is/there is nothing to fear/that’s why you and I are here.” Again, the country vibe is strong but the cutting lyrics and clean delivery make this song stand out in a modern way. Delivering with an air of finality it’s seems a shame that the album ends at all, however there could be no better ending.
In truth this album is good, very good and deserves a listen. The Ettes have found a sound that perfectly showcases their playing talent and makes for a sexy and hard-hitting live show.
By Meredith Underhill