Jack Pyers knows where he belongs – firmly planted behind the back-beat of a salacious hard rock anthem.
Pyers, the ex-bassist for PA-based rockers, Dirty Looks, who scored nationally in the late ’80s with Atlantic Records, (he’s also famously played with Central PA’s Harpo), is back with a collection of tunes returning him to sleazed-out rockstar glory. A year after taking a leap into the acoustic troubadour realm with a solo record titled “No Road Home,” Pyers rolls up his metal-edged sleeves and doles out the most rumbling rock refuse he’s offered since Dirty Looks’ 1988 “Cool From The Wire.”
Comprised of 10 tracks recorded live in the studio, of which Pyers says his assembled collaborators “played their asses off,” “Well of Souls” is a welcome return to form. Dirty Looks fans will bond with the gritty, lyrically provocative, remorseless rock ‘n roll he’s cooked up here – the musical equivalent of having a few shots at the local dive bar and an ensuing fistfight on a Saturday night.
Opener “Give It To Me” sees the project’s vocalist, Paul Reddon, channeling the late Dirty Looks frontman Henrik Ostergaard – complete with faux Bon Scott rasp and more than a hint of double-entendre bawdiness with insistence like “little baby puts on a show; like the wind she knows how to blow.” The track, sweetened with the vintage, Marshall Super Lead 100 amp sound of Malcolm Young’s finest of riffage, is infectiously decadent and sets up an entertaining 30 minutes of listening (most tracks are a quick run ‘n gun at 2:15 to 2:45).
“Gasoline” is a maniacally heavy boogie – imagine John Lee Hooker’s “Boom, Boom” set to Led Zeppelin circa 1972 with a dash of Aerosmith at the height of their powers. “Dance Little Sister” is equally as groove-laden in its mid-tempo delight, with headlong boy/girl fun the theme of the party (“the way you move to the beat knocks me off my feet”). “Burnin’ Down” brings the tone down to Clutch-like grunginess, noticeably nastier in attack, featuring some of Reddon’s most animated vocal phrasing, particularly with his higher register – there’s little doubt Pyers has found the perfect mouthpiece for his compositions.
Elsewhere, “Close To You” sees Pyers himself not willing to hang in the background for too long, with a meaty bass tone lifting a shade or two from Kings X’s Dug Pinnick back in his 12-string bottom-ended days. “Monkey Back” is easily the album’s heaviest track, with imagery straight out of a Delta bluesman’s dirty dream – getting your mojo going strong like a “freight train going down, down, down.”
“Well of Souls” is fast living at a slow burn, played by a guy that’s lived the rock ‘n roll high life and returned to tell the tale.
Mark Uricheck is a Weekender correspondent who writes weekly CD reviews. Reach Weekender at [email protected]
“Well of Souls”