The title is a giveaway. Low Cut Connie’s fifth album draws on the same sessions – at Ardent Studios in Memphis – that propelled this Philadelphia band’s 2017 blast of Fifties-infused glam-punk hallelujah, Dirty Pictures (Part 1). But these ten tracks, mostly written by singer-pianist Adam Weiner, are hardly leftovers. In fact, the opening sequence is a knockout. “All These Kids Are Way Too High” is explosive, hilarious censure, a song about every bar band’s worst nightmare – an audience that just stands and stares – detonated like the New York Dolls produced by Sam Phillips. “Beverly,” in turn, is steeped in Philly soul – a mid-tempo charge of desperate need that Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff could have written for Teddy Pendergrass – then seared with slide guitar and dotted with Weiner’s chiming piano, as if Elton John had joined the Replacements in time for Pleased to Meet Me.
What follows veers wildly in setting but
not quality: the outright-Ray Charles effect of Weiner’s solo boogie “One
More Time”; the barbed-Dylan ballad “Hollywood”; the
marching-R&B frenzy of “Hey! Little Child,” an Alex Chilton
cover. “Please Do Not Come Home,” written by guitarist James
Everhart, is hardcore roar lit with power-pop glow, while “Master
Tapes” is Weiner’s inspired analog metaphor for an emotional crisis,
triggered with swampy electric piano like the Meters kicking off a Faces
record. Low Cut Connie are defiantly old-school in their roots and values. But Dirty Pictures (Part 2),
like its predecessor, is a stand-alone triumph of missionary zeal.