John and the Sisters

Kevin Breit

  • AllMusic Rating
  • User Ratings (0)
  • Your Rating

John and the Sisters Review

by Richie Unterberger

The artist billing for this CD is a little uncertain: looking at the cover you'd deduce it's a self-titled effort by "John & the Sisters," but elsewhere it's inferred that this is a collaboration between Kevin Breit's Sisters Euclid band and singer John Dickie. Whatever the case, guitarist Breit is certainly the main motor of the project. He and Dickie -- credited as a "special guest," though he is in fact the usual lead singer -- are also responsible, working either separately or together, for writing most (though by no means all) of the material. It's an eccentric record, a kind of mutant blues-rock that rarely sounds like straight blues, mixing it with a good amount of funk, soul, gospel, brass band jazz, hipster vocal attitude, and odd, murky sonic textures (including occasional brief links between songs) that sometimes verge on the experimental. In these respects, there are some similarities to bluesy-but-not-blues' ventures by the likes of Tom Waits, Morphine, and the Latin Playboys, though it's not imitative of any of these. There's a kind of sleazy, swampy atmosphere to both the songs and arrangements that almost makes you wonder whether these guys are self-consciously trying to be weird, or are a more ordinary bar band who are somehow unselfconsciously sounding weird. All of this is probably making it sound more intriguing than it is. The songs aren't so hot, conjuring the sort of low-life, twilight-zone hotel existence pictured on the cover, but usually in a way that's more mundane than enticing. Too, Dickie's mannered, sometimes overwrought vocals can grow tiresome, and the songs themselves often plod on for way too long.

blue highlight denotes track pick