Nick Curran & The Lowlifes, Reform School Girl

Posted on December 26, 2010 by

And at number eight…

Artist: Nick Curran & The Lowlifes
Title: Reform School Girl
Label: Eclecto Groove 509
Released: February 16, 2010
Genre: R&B, Rock

Not many albums start off covering a vintage Etta James and finish with AC/DC. In between are twelve originals that sound like Little Richard meets Phil Spector with a dash of sixties camp.

When I first head “Sheena’s Back In Town” I thought it was a lost R&B gem; maybe an unearthed King Coleman cut. The misogynistic “Kill My Baby” is frighteningly believable with a nasty guitar line and an adrenaline rush of rhythm fueled by a baritone sax. The cut is followed by, “Psycho” with schizophrenic vocal to match. Not even Esquerita sounded this nuts.

But then on cuts like, “Reform School Girl” you hear Phil Spector and sixties girl group camp with background vocals in the chorus that sound like the Modern Folk Quartet regrouped for the session. “Ain’t No Good” leans more toward the rockabilly side of the tracks, as does “Flyin’ Blind” (featuring guest vocals from the Blasters’ Phil Alvin) while “Dream Girl” is bound to show up in a Tarrantino film.

The retro sound is so real thanks to the production work of Billy Horton, a Curran’s bas player that puts Nick’s vision into sound. Curran’s career has had him playing with his father’s band in Portland, ME at nineteen. He also toured with the rockabilly mistress, Kim Lenz, was a member of the Fabulous Thunderbirds and has pursued a solo career with Reform School Girl being his fifth album.

Some artists love a sound and do what they can to mask themselves in it. Curran is the sound he wants. It is derivative but it’s done expertly. Listen to the cover of AC/DC’s “Rocker,” you’d think it was a Little Richard song.

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