The Queen City Sound: Trip Hip
Since I’ve lived in Southern Ohio for only 10 months, I’ve been holding off on writing about a Cincinnati band. But I can’t resist any longer. I’m no longer a Queen City greenhorne, so on one of my recent trips to Shake It Records, I succumbed and finally picked up a copy of Wussy’s 2005 release Funeral Dress.
Released this past December on the Shake It label, Funeral Dress isn’t an enormous departure from Chuck Cleaver’s other band, the Ass Ponys, it’s still off-kilter roots rock, but just a little less off-kilter. Maybe it’s the addition of drummer Dawn Burman or jack-of-all- intruments Mark Messerly, or maybe it’s splitting the vocal and songwriting duties with newcomer Lisa Walker, but whatever it is, it works just fine.
With the Ass Ponys you kinda got the impression Cleaver was one of those kids who was picked on a lot in junior high and compensated by developing a devilish sense of humor. But with Wussy it appears that young Chucky is all grown up now. Don’t worry the wit is still there, he’s not going by Charles just yet, but the foursome seems to have struck a happy balance between the music and what they’re trying to say.
So what’s Wussy soapboxing about? What makes for good music, mostly. Love, loss, life, that kind of stuff. Like Andy Dufresne said in The Shawshank Redemption, “Get busy living, or get busy dying.”
WOXY has been giving them a fair amount of play, recently inviting them in-studio for a live set in April, and with each listen I hear a little bit more. At this moment, they seem to fall somewhere between Trip Shakespeare and the Tragically Hip. Which isn’t a bad place to be.
Buy Funeral Dress from Shake It Records.