True West - Kim and Leanne (Guilt Free Records)

true-westKim Salmon’s creative productivity knows no bounds. While he occasionally looks backwards, re-visiting his Scientists and Beasts of Bourbon history in the live sense, for example, the overwhelming sense with Salmon is one of overwhelming momentum.

That’s the case with “True West”, his latest project which pairs him with late period Scientists drummer Leanne Cowie (nee Chock) to be his most vital sounding record since “Sin Factory”.

People will say there’s a lot of the Scientists in this album and the antecedents of both members of the duo makes it hard for that not to be the case. It’s also true that Salmon became the dominant force in that band so any mirrored traits are as much his as his old band’s.

That’s not to understate the contributions of his bandmates, but Salmon’s harrowing vocals and circular, insistent fuzz guitar lines were the glue for those throbbing one-note bass-lines and primal drum feels. Kim and Leanne is very much be a partnership on-stage but the songs are Salmon’s, with co-producer and Precious Jewels bandmate Michael Stranges a co-writer.

Make no mistake: From the creeping damp of industrial-smeared opener “The Science Test” to the piercing wail of “Freudian Slippers” and the death march of “Rude Embryos”, these are great songs. They’re not as brazenly abrasive as the last Surrealists album “Grand Unifying Theory” but they’re ugly enough in their own way. There’s no mid-album sweetener like “Rose Coloured Windscreen” on “Sin Factory” - a seeping cover of the Stones’ “Dead Flowers” serves that purpose - but there’s ample energy among the at times crushingly acrid sounds.

Do you listen to the words in songs? The lyrics are suitably twisted and off-the-wall. 

While the chunky fuzz of “Hard To Get” embeds itself in your head, “So Naive” borders on perverse pop. it’s nicely brought undone by the atonal closer “Double Negativ”, where discordant guitar and vocals entwine themselves around Leanne Cowie’s rhythms.

You rarely hear people raving about Leanne’s drumming but Kim feels so highly about it that he installed her in a re-activated Scientists line-up a few years ago. Her drumming is the prefect foil on “True West” and it's easy to forget you’re listening to a duo.

“True West” is a high point. Don’t let it pass you by.

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Tags: scientists, kim salmon, true west, kim and leanne, leanne cowie, leanne chock, surrealists

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