Nick Curran / Nick Curran & the Lowlifes

Reform School Girl

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Since 2004's Player!, blues-centric guitarist/vocalist Nick Curran left his record label, joined up with Kim Wilson's latest incarnation of the Fabulous T-Birds, performed with his own punk-blues combo Deguello, and basically rumbled and tumbled through a number of sundry side projects, all the while eschewing the solo career that led to him taking home the 2004 W.C. Handy Award for Best New Artist Debut. Clearly, this allowed the ever-musically voracious Curran a chance to stretch his chops and imbibe more of the vast array of influences that spark his interests, from '40s jump blues and '50s rock & roll, to '70s punk and '80s hard rock. All of which Curran brings to bear on his fiendishly inspired, 2010 solo comeback Reform School Girl. A fiery, campy, and insanely rockin' album, Reform School Girl sounds like something along the lines of Little Richard backed by the Misfits with Phil Spector recording the proceedings in his garage. Which isn't to say that the album sounds sonically "gross" -- raw, for sure, but ain't that the point?! -- in fact, Curran has hooked up yet-again with his longtime partner in crime Billy Horton who helped deliver the old-school vintage sound that Curran has made his trademark. Further, while Curran can lay blues-pipe as good as any of the other contemporary T-Bone Walker and Jimmie Vaughan freaks, the blues is only one of many connective musical tissues he rips through here. To these ends, the title track finds Curran nodding his Wild One motorcycle cap to the Ronettes as he humorously turns the standard girl-gone-bad story on its head. Elsewhere, burners like "Kill My Baby," "Psycho," and "Baby You Crazy" are fingersnapping rockers with deliciously nasty sentiments that call into question the exact nature of Curran's romantic devotion. Also inspired is the Ritchie Valens-esque rave-up "Filthy" (a Deguello carry-over), and Curran's revelatory head-thumping take on AC/DC's "Rocker."

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