Low Cut Connie

Dirty Pictures, Pt. 2

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Adam Weiner appears on the cover of a Low Cut Connie record for the first time on Dirty Pictures, Pt. 2 and, in a sense, it's hard not to see the album as a bit of a coming-out party for the pianist/singer/songwriter. Weiner became the undisputed leader of Low Cut Connie with 2017's Dirty Pictures, Pt. 1, an album recorded in the wake of the departure of drummer Dan Finnemore and, in retrospect, it's hard not to see that record as transitional -- a moody, provocative affair that balanced Low Cut Connie's signature rave-ups with dark nights of the soul. In contrast, Dirty Pictures, Pt. 2 finds Low Cut Connie melding those fleeting darker moments with the joy that propels so much of the band's music. Often Weiner fuses those two moods, like he does on "Beverly," a gorgeous, windswept pop tune that finds him at his most empathetic and romantic, a welcome shift of perspective from a singer/songwriter who cherishes a cutting joke. His sense of humor hasn't disappeared, nor has his vulgarity (witness the opening line of "Master Tapes") or love of dirty boogie: "All These Kids Are Way Too High" pounds as hard as the album-closing cover of Alex Chilton's "Hey! Little Child," a tune that also functions as a nice nod to Ardent Studios, where both parts of Dirty Pictures were cut. What's different with Dirty Pictures, Pt. 2 is how the album feels complete: Weiner struts his blues chops on "One More Time," serves up a modern-day protest song with "Desegregation," and writes his purest pop song in "Please Do Not Come Home," but also allows himself to seem vulnerable throughout the record, no matter what the tempo may be. Weiner may be the leader of Low Cut Connie -- he's the frontman and the songwriter, the anchor through the lineup changes -- but Dirty Pictures, Pt. 2 crackles because it's the product of a band, not an individual. All the songs may be good, but they're given life by a group that has been broken in by endless dates on the road, a difference that helps turn Weiner's best set of songs into Low Cut Connie's best album.

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