Empire State Troopers - Upstate Again (CD EP)
Thanks to the ballsy vocal delivery of Kelly Murphy, this upstate New York quartet comes across like a female fronted Melvins mixed with a bit of The Jesus Lizard's angularity and punk energy. If anything, Empire State Troopers mine the same 70's arena rock greats that the Melvins do. The production is very crisp and clear, thanks to Sebadoh's Jason Lowenstein, the man behind the boards. The band's performance also gels well - the rhythm section is driving and complements the fierce guitar; no one instrument really sticks out, they sound like a unit.
Finally I've found a good old fashioned talented rock-and-roll band. Dirty rock. I mean slithering on the bar floor after-hours kind of shit with sex appeal, sardonic lyrics, and all-around let's throw beer bottles at that tree because these tunes fucking rock rock. Let's get twisted on acid, drink Jack Daniels, smoke a joint and get some more volume over here now because this shit is real. I'm talking about the Empire State Troopers.
Kelly Murphy's lyrics are a fevered search for a trap door in the root cellar of her heart. Digging in the pitch-black dirt of sordid relationships and leaving claw marks on the backs of her captors, she regales us with stories of inner personal battles on the wind of her golden pipes. Accompanied by Thom Hall driving riffs on guitar that, depending on where, can be construed as descending into or climbing out of crescendos. The railing to these ladder riffs acting as a safety device throughout the whole album, is Jeff Fox on bass. Nothing sly about his bass playing because this here bastard plays as subliminally as a kick in the teeth. And he has to in order to keep up with and tie together the heart pounding drums of Nathan Pallace.