Morrow vs. Hajduch: Powersolo’s Bloodskinbones

Scott Morrow is ALARM’s music editor. Patrick Hajduch is a very important lawyer. Each week they debate the merits of a different album.

Powersolo: BloodskinbonesPowersolo: Bloodskinbones (Crunchy Frog, 4/13/10)

Powersolo: “Gimme the Drugz”
[audio:|titles=Powersolo: “Gimme the Drugz”]

[Ed. note: The track order of Bloodskinbones is different on Powersolo’s website than it is on the actual CD.  This review reflects the order as streamed from the band’s site.]

Morrow: Denmark’s Powersolo are some strange cats. It’s a pair of brothers — going by “Atomic Child” and “Kim Kix” — who play a peculiar brand of rock and roll and rockabilly.  Bloodskinbones is their third full-length album (fourth if you include the soundtrack to Himmerland OST).

Hajduch: I expected this album to be more rockabilly, but it actually reminded me of The Hives — driving, bar-chord garage with a few guitar leads thrown in to accent. About half-way through, I started thinking that the vocals sounded sort of like “Weird” Al, and it’s been messing with me ever since.

Morrow: Yeah, they definitely have that quality — sort of like Dr. Demento with dick jokes. But if you can get past the sophomoric humor and the oddball delivery, you’ll find some quality rock tunes. “Gimme the Drugz” is a good example of that — lowbrow lyrics but a real winner of a track. And yes, Bloodskinbones scales back the rockabilly and genre-hopping blend of the band’s first full-length for Crunchy Frog.

The first half of Bloodskinbones is sort of hit or miss, but I think that the second half really comes together. There’s a dynamite combination of hooks, weirdness, and garage-rock aesthetic, particularly on “Yeah! Yeah!” and “Busses.” Then the last track, “Coco,” has a great 1950s rock vibe. And fortunately, people can still stream the whole album at the band’s website.

Hajduch: Yeah, right about around “Psych Demons” — a nice slice of jangly, four-chord pop, where the only “psych” signifier is the effected vocals — the album really picks up. The goofy vocals of “Canned Love” are destined to haunt me once an ad company inserts them into a commercial, like Vonage did with The‘ “Woo Hoo.”

Morrow: Well, you saw the “Lemon Drop” Absolut ad with a cut of “Kat Nazer,” right?  The only difference is that “Kat Nazer” doesn’t drill you with the same simplistic melody over and over, and it’s one of Powersolo’s best songs.

Hajduch: I definitely saw that ad. It makes me think that this band has major crossover potential to burrow hooks right into my skull. This is not a bad thing. And overall, I’m excited to listen to this album in a format where I can listen to it continuously. (Bands, let us stream the whole album! Don’t make listeners click track by track!)  I’d also like to get an up-close look at that grotesque, collage-style album art.

It has a rough patch up front, but overall, Bloodskinbones is a great album.  There are also a few tracks — notably the excellent album closer “Coco” — that invite a positive comparison to Cake. It’s hard to call Cake underrated, given that they had a gigantic radio hit and are now basically on a touring victory lap, but they had a knack for combining upbeat riffs and laconic vocals, and it’s nice to hear their sound rub off on others years later.

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