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MUSIC: JAMES WILLIAMSON & THE PINK HEARTS – Behind The Shade

| 7 June 2018 | Reply

MUSIC: JAMES WILLIAMSON & THE PINK HEARTS – Behind The Shade
Leopard Lady Records
June 2018
Reviewed by Shane Pinnegar
8/10

Former Stooges guitarist James Williamson gets, well, Stoogey on this latest album, notably with the help of Frank Meyer, who also sings with an outfit called The Streetwalkin’ Cheetahs. Yep – an obvious homage to you-know-who.

Openers Riot On The Strip and Judith Christ channel Iggy & The Stooges convincingly, with Williamson on record openly admitting that he is not lyrically gifted, so has relied on others his entire musical career for that side of things.

The guitar, however, is indeed his forte, and these tracks could fit comfortably on recent Stooges albums.

It’s not all garage punk glory and Iggy nihilism, though: Williamson’s secret weapon here is Petra Haden (That Dog, The Haden Triplets, Foo Fighters, The Decemberists, Tito & Tarantula, Beck, Luscious Jackson, Green Day and many more), whose full, winsome voice brings out a folkier side of the guitarist than we’ve heard before.

She takes lead on Pink Hearts Across The Sky – wistful and breezy, it sounds almost like a Fleetwood Mac or Eagles demo from the ‘70s, complete with Haden’s gorgeous violin

You Send Me Down has a ‘70s pop rock feel – think J Geils Band as a reference point – and the combination of Meyer and Haden’s vocals, no matter which is in front and which is behind, is beguiling.

Williamson employs a myriad of other tricks as well: a jazzy trumpet solo on the raw, garagey tale of spoiled love, This Garden Lies; a percussive groove on Purple Moon, complementing its driving riff and great guitar solo; a country-folk ‘70s Stones groove on Miss Misery; while The Revolution Stomp would have sounded at home on Kill City.

It all climaxes with the title track – scathingly raw and honest vocals and a garagetasticly grooving Hammond organ in juxtaposition – and the closer – Died A Little Today. Sung hauntingly by Haden, with Meyer in support, it is so restrained and atmospheric as to be closer to Mazzy Star than The Stooges. It’s a beautifully moving end to a fascinating album by a legend, not afraid to try new things and defy expectations.

Shane

Category: CD Reviews

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