Lowdown Ways is the third studio album from Daddy Long Legs, a animalistic, energetic trio from New York. Comprising Brian Hurd (vocals/ harmonica/guitar), Murat Akturk (slide guitar) and Josh Styles (drums/maraca), the three write their own material drawing on blues and other genres, all wreathed in a scuzzy sonic fuzz so filthy it should probably come with sterilising wipes.
Kicking off with ‘Theme From Daddy Long Legs’, in just under two minutes they summon up ghosts of the The Sex Pistols’ ‘Holiday In The Sun’ boot-stomp intro, the Old Grey Whistle Test theme and an Alan Lomax chain gang field recording. Damn, that’s good!
The meaty ‘Ding Dong Dang’ (and why not?), like lead single ‘Mornin’ Noon And Nite’, sees Hurd growling like an old Delta bluesman through the layers of distortion. There’s a carefully crafted, lovingly lo-fi energy and rawness to the sound production.
‘Pink Lemonade’, borrowing lightly from The Doors’ ‘Hello, I Love You’, also contains something a bit early 1980s electronic in its beats. The thundering drums of ‘Be Gone’ bookend verses that seem to have a casual acquaintance with Mungo Jerry’s ‘In The Summertime’.
‘Glad Rag Ball’ may nod briefly towards the Count Five’s ‘Psychotic Reaction’ but then heads off in an almost glam rock direction. ‘Winners Circle’ also mines that similar glam seam, this time overlaid with the pub rock feel of a 1970s stomper. Beer-sticky carpet, fag-ends and flares seem to hover just at the limits of one’s peripheral vision.
‘Back Door Fool’ is a pretty straightforward country blues, much as ‘Bad Neighborhood’, the longest song on here at just over four minutes, is a foot-to-the-floor grimy Chicago blues. The band thunders along the chugging blues of ‘Snagglepuss’ to the more refined ‘Célaphine’, uptempo rock’n’roll wearing a Cajun overcoat.
Wrapping up the album is the furiously galloping and apocalyptic spaghetti-Western ‘Wrong Side Of The River’ – a gloriously dark romp into the sunset.
Despite the clear influence of the distortion of 1960s garage punk and blues, this band is no mere nostalgia-fest, but a vitally contemporary take on American music traditions. And one that shamelessly hits the gut response with its visceral, low-down and dirty fuzzed-out garagey blues.
If you like your music bluesy, raucous and primal, Daddy Long Legs are the answer. Howling on stage in selected venues in the UK right now.
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