The first thing I noticed about the new Hussy LP, Cement Tomb Mind Control, before I even began listening was the length of the songs. Just two tracks reach the 2 minute mark, leaving the rest somewhere between 49 seconds and 1:59. “When we started as a band,” says Bobby Hussy, who plays guitar and sings on a large portion of the LP, “we wrote songs that came naturally and they’ve always been short bursts of pop mixed in with garage/punk/noise, and we sorta found our sound through that structure.” “I would rather have someone wanting more of something than getting too much and bored with a song,” adds Heather Sawyer, drummer and 2nd singer of the Madison duo.
Perhaps there’s something in Sawyer’s statement. The first song I heard off of Cement Tomb Mind Control was “Sexi Ladi,” a quick burst of 60s energetic pop equipped with summer sun and holding hands. The song could not be contained to just one listen, not even two or three. With each repeated listen, I found myself falling more and more in love with it. Had it been three or four minutes, I doubt I would have had the stamina, nor the desire to stick with it for so long.
The LP starts off with the angry Stooges-style rant, “I’m Me.” “Go fuck yourself,” sings the duo in unison, not even giving the detestable subject of the song the satisfaction of a full 2 minutes of their attention, cutting out at 1:58. There’s an urgency, not just musically in this LP. There’s not much The Hussy care to have you hear lyrically, drowning the words out in a whirl of fuzz. But when they have something to say, they make sure you hear it. “Let’s get it on,” Sawyer yells in “Baby Child.” Similarly, the whistles come in crystal clearly in an otherwise distortion-drenched “Wrong/Right.”
“Demon Claus” breaks the Hussy mold set in the first four songs of Cement Tomb. A bit lighter on the fuzz and not quite as into the red, this song ditches the fast-paced, upbeat pop of “Sexi Ladi,” and welcomes all things dark, both in the subject matter and the Jay Reatard by way of Electric Prunes approach to garage.
Both members of this Madison duo bring equally powerful vocals and song writing chops to this LP. Though Cement Tomb Mind Control lags a bit near the middle with songs like “Pavement” and “Oh No” not quite carrying as much weight as songs like “Have a Say” or “I’m Me,” it’s definitely one of the best releases so far this year.
I recently talked to Bobby and Heather of the Hussy about the new LP, the Wisconsin music scene, and mistaken lyrics. Read on for the full interview, and be sure to check them out Saturday, May 14th at WHPK’s Summer Breeze Festival held at the University of Chicago Commons. The Hussy will also be playing with The Growlers at the Empty Bottle on May 26th.