Did you know that the devil lives in Texas and he’s got a hell-uv-a voice with a band to match? I didn’t until I listened to Goudie’s coming-out CD, Peep Show. A creepy-sexy fresh release straight from the Lone Star State, its got a very fashionable and eclectic musical hellscape, layered with glitter and vocals that sound as if the devil decided to take over the world through songs of seduction. Johnny Goudie’s dramatic voice lies somewhere on the pitch spectrum between Marc Bolan of T-Rex and Geddy Lee of Rush, exuding an androgynous castrated glam quality. And Jimmy Messer’s guitar is just as intense. If a guitar can cry, it does in “Julia,” from whimpers to full-out bawling. Messer effectuates his guitar voice with equal amounts precision and unconscious takeover.
Both extreme and passionate, the vocals and guitar could easily override each other but they don’t. Instead, they work in unison to conjure up brooding barroom ballads, bleeding and pleading love songs, electronically manipulated sonic non sequiturs and high-pitched experimentations as if touched by Eno’s feather boa. And they heavy it up too. “Drag City” hooks and catches with a repeating marriage of bass and guitar Gary Glitter would be proud of.
These guys already have been compared to Radiohead and I can see why. They have an uncanny sense of how to fill and vary like Jedi masters of sound, and they have their own thing going, which is a tough task in this postmodern, everything’s-been-done-to-death world of music. Lars Ulrich of Metallica was impressed enough to make Goudie the second band released on his label, the Music Company, and Peep Show includes collaborations with industry veterans such as Jane Wiedlin of the Go-Go’s, Kevin Hunter of Wire Train and Aimee Mann on backing vocals.
Unfortunately, the band ends the CD on a weak note. The last track, “When Will You Be Mine?,” is a very slow organ-riding-the-waves trip. Which is not bad, but it’s nothing special either, and nowhere near as rich and hard-hitting as the rest of the tracks. But don’t let that stop you from experiencing music with the desperate intensity of charcoal lines in a Munch drawing. If you have any curiosity about the dark side or sympathy for the devil, Peep Show deserves a peek.
Anita Schmaltz writes about music for Metro Times. Send comments to [email protected].