Wussy: Battle Cries & Butterflies
The lead track of Wussy's new album Attica! is entitled "Teenage Wasteland" and set in a cornfield. Its intro goes on for a full minute: synth-sounding-guitar-or-vice-versa ostinato to acoustic finery to piano-figure-plus-drums bringing home a full-band crescendo and finally a voice asking: "Do you remember the moment when you finally did something about it/When the kick of the drum lined up with the beat of your heart?" It's a song about another song, The Who's "Baba O'Riley," with its long synth intro to Roger Daltrey's scene-setting "Out here in the fields" and climactic "It's only teenage wasteland." It remembers, as Lou Reed once put it, how a life was saved by rock and roll.
Wussy新专辑Attica! 开篇曲歌名为“Teenage Wasteland”，背景设置在一片玉米地中。一个听起来十分华丽，像合成器的吉他演奏或正好相反的重复乐节作为intro持续了整整一分钟；之后由钢琴和鼓引入全乐队的渐强；最后一个声音问道：“Do you remember the moment when you finally did something about it/When the kick of the drum lined up with the beat of your heart? ” 这首歌与The Who乐队的“Baba O’Riley”联系紧密：长长的合成器intro，由Roger Daltrey唱出设置场景的歌词“Out here in the fields”以及高潮部分的“It's only teenage wasteland.” 正如Lou Reed曾经指出的，它纪念了摇滚乐是如何拯救了一条生命。
The twist is that, like Sweet Jane, the rescuee is a woman--a woman who's also a bigger and subtler singer than Roger Daltrey. Co-leader Chuck Cleaver's gravelly twang and spiritual falsetto were strong enough to front a fine little band called the Ass Ponys until he met young Lisa Walker in 2001 and knew his fate. Ass Ponys good, Wussy great, end of story. In America--and Wussy are very American--only Arcade Fire and Vampire Weekend show as much will and ability to make every album both different and superb.
纠结之处在于，与Sweet Jane（the velvet underground的一首歌）一样，这位拯救者是一位女士—一位比Roger Daltrey更具力量也更细腻的女歌手。Chuck Cleaver粗粝的鼻音和直击灵魂的假声已经足够组织一支叫做Ass Ponys的小乐队—直到2001年他与年轻的Lisa Walker相遇，从此他知道了自己的命运。Ass Ponys不错，但Wussy伟大，结论就是这样。在美国—Wussy是一支非常美国化的乐队—只有Arcade Fire和Vampire Weekend展现出了同样强烈的意愿和同样强的能力让每张专辑都独特而优秀。
What keeps Cincinnati's greatest band 630 miles from Saturday Night Live starts with their piss-take name, alt-country tinge, and uncool passion for bad romance. Nor does it help that nine years after their debut Funeral Dress even the beauteous Walker is no longer a kid, or that hefty graybeard Cleaver looks like the stonemason he is. But above all it's their retrograde notion of artistic progress, which is more about craft honed on the micro level than grand aesthetic gestures. Fervent formalists and record mavens, they construct concise, complex songs from the ground up and then propel them aloft.
On Attica! Walker is unmistakably aeronaut-in-chief--no showoff or narcissist, just a protean singer to reckon with. After Cleaver follows "Teenage Wasteland" with a fierce love song that's called "Rainbows and Butterflies" because that's what it believes in, her register descends below his on "Bug" before rising to meet the sweet clear hooks of "North Sea Girls." The song "Attica!" is "a battle cry of what someone is willing to do for his own desperate, unconventional love," Walker told me. Inspired by Al Pacino in Dog Day Afternoon, it begins almost fragile, but soon Walker is doubled electronically, and then she's pumping up the volume. She knows just how far to stray from pure note values to heighten and humanize each line. Her ability to project empathy and dispassion simultaneously is an ongoing wonder.
在Attica！中，Walker毫无疑问扮演了掌舵人的角色—并不是炫耀和孤芳自赏—她是一个亟需被重视的变化多端的歌手。跟随“Teenage Wasteland”之后的是Cleaver的一首名为“Rainbows and Butterflies”的激烈情歌。在那之后，在“Bug”这首歌中，Walker的音区下降到Cleaver之下，直到在“North Sea Girls”甜美明晰的hook里上升。“Attica!”这首歌正如Walker告诉阿西的一样，“是一场关于某人愿意为自己绝望而离经叛道的爱情做些什么的战斗呐喊。”受Dog Day Afternoon里的Al Pacino启发，它开始时近乎虚弱，但很快Walker开足马力，加大了音量，她知道如何偏离纯音值来升华每一行歌词并为它们增添人性。Walker同时呈现共情与理性的能力是一个永远的奇迹。
Eighteen years apart in age, Chuck and Lisa were an on-and-off couple for Wussy's first half-decade, and albums three and four went long on romantic trauma. But on Attica!, the bad relationships Cleaver evokes seem third-person, tiny stories about long lives riven by violence and fire or short ones beset by simple weariness. "To the Lightning" is literally two songs at once, Cleaver limning a bad marriage while Walker stays home from church on what sounds like a dimmer radio frequency. If the dreams-out-of-reach and regret-coming-down of her "Halloween" are a less exultant take on her own teens, her "North Sea Girls" is generous and lyrical. And it's she who sings Cleaver's "Home," an unqualified promise of succor in adversity.
年龄相差18岁，在Wussy成立的第一个五年里，Chuck 和 Lisa是一对分分合合的情侣。因此，他们的三四专在爱情伤害的话题上走得很远。但是在Attica！里，由Cleaver激起的坏关系看似是一个第三人称视角的，关于被暴力和火焰撕裂的漫长生命和被简单的厌倦困扰的短暂生命的小故事。"To the Lightning"实际上是两首歌：Cleaver描绘了一场糟糕的婚礼，同时Walker待在远离教堂的家中，她的部分听起来像一个暗淡的无线电频率。如果在"Halloween"里无法触及的梦境和降临的悔恨对Walker的青少年时期来说略显压抑，"North Sea Girls"却足够慷慨而抒情。为Cleaver唱着"Home"的她，无疑是逆境中的救赎。
Initially the Ass Ponys seemed alt-country because they featured pedal steel and Cleaver played up his small-town drawl. So Wussy were put in the same box, Lou Reed drone and all. But once Joe Klug started boom-booming their drumkit on 2011's Strawberry, that was just stupid. Where young musos think art is fancy song structures and the chord change you just learned, this middle-aged band targets not prog but its populist cousin, arena rock. Even rehired steel player John Erhardt eschews Nashville moan to pile on more of the guitar distortions that buzz and rumble through Attica!; given Lisa's groan, "Bug" hints at death metal.
起初，Ass Ponys看似是一支另类乡村乐队的原因是他们以踏板电吉他作为主打同时Cleaver演奏他那拖沓的小镇歌谣。Wussy曾经也处于同样的境地，Lou Reed单调地唱，其他照旧。但在他们2011年的专辑Strawberry 里，Joe Klug砰砰砰地一敲起架子鼓，以前的一切立刻就显得很笨拙了。当沉迷技术的年轻音乐人认为艺术是你刚学到的时髦歌曲结构和和弦变化时，这个中年乐队并没有瞄准prog，相反，他们选择了它的民粹主义表亲—Arena Rock。在整张Attica！里，重新雇佣的吉他手John Erhardt甚至无视了Nashville的抱怨，更多地放大了吉他失真的声音；鉴于Lisa的呻吟，“Bugs”暗示了死亡金属的影响。
Wussy's chance of liberating arenas full of young we're-all-wasteds is minuscule. But telling the world their lives were saved by rock and roll is their life mission.