Moaners : Dark Snack

Jeff Terich


Buy it at Insound!

Black pudding. Crow. A big, hot, steamy bowl of death. Depending on who you ask, all of these could be considered dark snacks. But Southern duo The Moaners have a delectable dish of their own to offer you, a twelve-song delicacy that’s tough, meaty and raw. And they called it, as you may have guessed, Dark Snack.

A taste of Dark Snack reveals some rough but sultry female garage blues that goes down easier than the name might imply. The duo comes across as something of a hybrid between Polly Jean Harvey and The Black Keys. These gals are brash and fiery like Miss Harvey, but like the Keys, they’re deceptively soulful and make a lot of ruckus for just two people. In fact, I’m a little curious about how all of these songs are meant to work in a live setting, considering just one overdub leaves an extra job to be done. And that would require a trio.

Logistics aside, Dark Snack rocks, no matter how they pull it off. Frontwoman Melissa Swingle sings with a lazy drawl that gives the songs a detached swagger. Imagine Stephen Malkmus sexier and female and it would come close to Swingle’s delivery. But adding to the overall awesomeness of the music is her slide-guitar playing, which recalls Steve Turner’s grungy blues sound on Mudhoney’s My Brother the Cow. Finishing off the combination plate is Laura King’s solid, four-on-the-floor drumming. She lends an added weight to these songs, making them not only badass, but really goddamn heavy as well.

Just about every song on Dark Snack is worth a bite, from the opening romp of “Heart Attack” to the closing dirge “Chasing the Moon,” a spacey, beautiful lullaby featuring singing saw, of all things. These two songs bookend a plethora of standouts, like the swampy stomper “Terrier,” the slinky strip-club blues of “Water,” the jangly pop of “Talk About It” and the dreamy ballad “Secret Joy.” For thirty-five minutes, The Moaners cook up a mean batch of Southern-fried rock that’s meaty, but palatable.

If the food metaphors didn’t get the message across, I’ll put it straight — Dark Snack is one badass album. It ain’t a new idea, but quite frankly, I don’t care. Loud guitars, a sexy swagger and good songwriting always make a good combination. And when The Moaners do it, it’s quite tasty.

Similar albums:
PJ Harvey – Dry
The Black Keys – Rubber Factory
The Breeders – Last Splash

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