Low Cut Connie

Dirty Pictures, Pt. 1

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Low Cut Connie earned some high-profile fans after the 2015 release of Hi Honey -- notably, President Barack Obama added their tune "Boozophilia" to a summertime playlist that summer -- but the group's core changed in its wake. Drummer Dan Finnemore departed in 2016, leaving pianist Adam Weiner as the band's undisputed leader, and the shift is apparent on Dirty Pictures, Pt. 1. A good chunk of the album is still devoted to the greasy, sleazy rock & roll that's been Low Cut Connie's specialty since the outset -- "Love Life" is a dirty nocturnal grind, the bright hooks of "Angela" hide its snide jokes -- but there's a darkness running through Dirty Pictures, Pt. 1, one that's evident from the moment "Revolution Rock N Roll" starts the album on a minor key. It's not hard to read this as a reaction to the tumultuous state of the union in the back-half of the 2010s -- as Weiner sings here, "there's death and destruction in the country" -- but this melancholy streak deepens Low Cut Connie's music, providing moments of questioning next to the nonstop boogie. "Death & Destruction" slides into "Montreal," a haunted late-night saloon song recalling Big Star by way of the Replacements, while a frenzied salute to the late Prince via a cover of "Controversy" gets paired with the aching "Forever." What makes these moody moments striking is that Weiner hasn't renounced the power of rock & roll, nor his penchant for mischief; he isn't trumpeting a new direction, he's adding dimension to a band that already offers more than its fair share of surprise and pleasure.

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