The Ettes, Wicked Will

Posted on August 9, 2011 by

Artist: The Ettes
Title: Wicked Will
Label: Varese / Fontana / Krian 302 062 409
Released: August 2, 2011

“Every time you smile I can tell you’re just showing your teeth,” sings a reverberated Coco Hames over the strum of an acoustic guitar in the opening track from the Ettes new CD, Wicked Will. The background vocals temper the track like a chilling wind but the sound soon gets blown away by the buzz and fuzz of the second track, “The Excuse,” leaning more toward the sound of the MC5. It’s Liam Watson’s garage-rock production of space, pitting the highs and lows against each other as Coco purrs and the guitars whirr over them.

Coco’s purrs can turn to snarls quickly, showing she’s far from being tamed. But it’s really the production that brings out her sass. It’s an attitude booster. It’s the drone of the keyboards and stinging guitar parts providing the atmosphere for Coco’s little thundercloud of a voice.

“Were You There” sounds like something Patti Smith may have done with the Chocolate Watchband. “Stay Where You Are” shows Coco as one who is not going to be the recipient of any one’s shit. It’s her wicked will that comes across in “I Stayed Too Late” as well as “My Baby Cried All Night Long.” None of these songs exemplify a good relationship, but the symbiosis between Coco and her band mates along with producer Watson works well.

The total time of the CD is a little over thirty-two minutes. It’s a good length for it because the CD is slightly clichéd. Hearing anymore and Watson’s work would border on the tedious. Lyrically, nothing else comes close to the opening track. Not even the Lee Hazlewood cover. It’s a step in a different direction from the previous Greg Cartwright produced album, but not into a different territory. Wicked Will sounds more like the early Ettes, but a bit more refined.

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