It’s been a few years since we last heard from J. Roddy Walston and the Business, but the Cleveland, Tennessee, rockers have a new album, Essential Tremors, coming September 10th on ATO Records. The title is a reference to a nervous-system disorder affecting Walston, one that can suddenly make his hands start shaking. While he’s sung about the condition in the past, Essential Tremors marks the first time he’s been so open about it.
The record is packed with the band’s trademark riotous, ragged rock, always accented by Walston’s thundering piano and striking vocals: “Marigold” is a gritty, twisted boogie about a trust-fund kid with a drug problem and a few uncertainties about his gender orientation, while “Sweat Shock” is a relentless, pulsating rocker sure to inspire bouts of sanctified spazzing. The band shows off their more poignant side on the gorgeous “Boys Can Never Tell,” laced with pining steel guitar. A few cuts later, they pair that same vulnerability with a rousing rock & roll groove on “Tear Jerk.” The LP closes with the bounding “Midnight Cry,” which builds to a boisterous conclusion before tapering off into sweet, shimmering “ahhs.”