Everything seems to start almost normally on Pussyhorse with "Creep in the Cellar," even with the rather gone violin line -- Haynes is intelligible, the piano part is quiet serene. Then again, Haynes is talking about the creep in question doing things like taking off his skin, so clearly all is still at least somewhat tweaked in Surferland. The rest of the album makes that pretty clear; if not quite as strong as Psychic...Powerless, Pussyhorse is still a strong slice of homegrown art/psychedelia gone to a murky hell. Gentler songs like "Sea Ferring" still have a distinct queasiness to them, its sea chanty feeling undercut by the nagging bassline and Haynes' yelps. When the group goes totally nuts, as on a drum-blasting, squiggly voiced cover of the Guess Who's "American Woman" that makes the later Lenny Kravitz version seem like the redundant slice of nostalgia it is, no prisoners are taken. "Perry" is another definite nutter, with Haynes or somebody talking about this and that to his "baby" over a slow, organ-heavy groove. This said, the trick about Pussyhorse, and arguably why it's slightly lesser than Psychic...Powerless, is its overall subtlety in comparison. Things are more dark and gloomy throughout, downright gothic, even, with the organ start and whispery lyrics of "Strangers Die Everyday" being a good example. Leary keeps his playing low and strange throughout, fitting in with new bassist Pinkus rather well as a result. Get past the slight surprise of not always hearing the Surfers going near-all out most of the time, though, and Pussyhorse is still mighty fine, whether talking about the drony guitar weirdness opening "Whirling Hall of Knives" or the echo-treated reprise of "In the Cellar." CD versions of Pussyhorse conveniently include the Cream Corn From the Socket of Davis EP.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Ned Raggett