Ludella Black

Till You Lie in Your Grave

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It's no shock that Til You Lie in Your Grave is a prime slice of rough-and-ready garage punk spiced up with beat group melodies and a girl group strut, considering that the people behind its creation have been making it this way since the 1980s. Ludella Black was in the Delmonas and Thee Headcoatees. Mickey Hampshire, who wrote the tunes and plays guitar, was in the Milkshakes, and drummer Bruce Brand, well, he's been in about 100 Billy Childish-related bands and the Milkshakes, too. The thing that's shocking is that the sound they get is as fresh in 2018 as it was in 1981. They play with the kind of gusto and punch that bands half their age can barely muster, Black sounds exactly as tough as she did with her previous bands and the whole thing should serve to knock any garage rock pretenders for a loop. The record shifts between gut punch kiss-offs (the title track, "I'm Not Playing Your Game No More"), searching for love songs (the Bo Diddley-esque "Every Little Bit of You"), and covers (a sweet take on the Beatles' "Wait" and a scorching reimagining of Black Sabbath's "Am I Insane") with ease, and this batch of songs stands out from the pack thanks to its lyrical intent and Black's resolute delivery. "Monotony" is a scathing, tightly wound plea for freedom that features Black's most forceful vocals, "The Brother I Never Had" is a sad and sweet beat ballad about a unique subject, and "A Creature Called Doubt" is a pummeling garage beast that does a fine job of detailing the evil thoughts that can creep into a tenuous relationship. Hampshire doesn't just stick to the usual garage rock topics and Black is able to make every twist and turn of his words come fully to life. It's a thrilling subversion of garage rock expectations -- though if you've been following her sporadic solo career, it really shouldn't be a surprise -- and it's a perfect mix of fun, passion, and sharp three-chord hooks. Here's hoping that Black, Hampshire, and their band make records on a more consistent schedule and that they keep it up forever.

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