Thursday, October 22, 2015

Peculiar Pretzelmen – Who Brought the Serpent Down

I have been a big fan of the Preztelmen since I first saw them at the Huntridge Tavern earlier this year and I love the other two CDs of theirs that I have, but I did not think that either of them quite captured the intensity of their live performance. Naturally, that is difficult to do on any recording, but this new CD does its damnedest and is a terrific representation of their current act.

The duo – Kevin Incroyable on vocals and various string instruments and Deacon Marrquin on drums and homemade percussion – open this proverbial can of worms with a wall of feedback and stompin’ rhythms that are layered with banjo and who-knows-what-else in “Recession”. Fine use of dynamics here as the noise intertwines with the lyrics, all while maintaining a hillbilly head-bangin’ hop throughout. The intensity doesn’t let up in “Little Death”, which almost reminds me of an updated, original take on Ministry’s “Jesus Built My Hot Rod”, but that might just be my twisted imagines. “Rabbit Foot Blues” is a new recording of the opening from Everything Must Be Broken, keeping its catchy melody and banjo licks and layering keys and a bit more to the ending. I can’t help it, but certain things that these gents do remind me of Tom Waits and “Desramond” would not feel out of place on Rain Dogs, with its infectious, syncopated rhythms and various interactions between banjo, fuzz-fury and with vocals ranging from crooning to screaming. Songs like this really make Deacon stand out as a clever and original percussionist, as well. I’m not familiar with “Helm”, but it sounds like an early Americana tune, given a driving beat and a bit of odd distorted squank here’n’there.

“Heart Attack” is truly frantic, with nice bits of tire rim ringin’ and assorted bash’n’clang, and they slow things down a bit for “Boom”, a cacophonous slough through a swamp with the melodic feedback pulling at your heels while Kevin’s voice pushes you along. There’s an actual ballad in “Pobrecito”, a modern-day Mexican folk song with really nice melodic twists’n’turns, but still with clangs’n’fuzz throughout. The appropriately titled “Howling Gale” follows before throwing what sounds like damn near the whole kitchen sink in the mighty, shrieking finale “Dead Hate the Living”.

I can’t recommend these cats enough – every CD that I have is stellar, though this just might be the best of the bunch. Definitely see them live any chance you can, as well!