Meat Purveyors Pain by Numbers

Thinking of music in utterly inappropriate military terms, the battle for our CD trays must be won by the three things: passion, coherent interplay and, above all, the element of surprise. Well, these glazed donuts bring it all, the latter coming from a simplicity that stems from faithfully playing hardcore bluegrass, and I do mean that pornographically. Twin devo divas Jo Cohen and Cherilyn Dimond don’t exactly weave DNA strands in the ear like the Stanley Brothers, but they do sound like sweet sisters together, ably backed by Bill Anderson’s lyrics and guitars and Peter Stiles’s crucial mandolin. Darcie Deaville drops some helpful fiddle on the doorstep, whenever possible, too. In short, the bluegrass machine is revving. From here on in, the genre is always either about total parroting or tasty deviation. After a couple of tributes to booze, a countrified version of Fleetwood Mac’s "Monday Morning” (the "first you love me, then you say it’s wrong” song) is more creative than the Dixie Chicks’ "Landslide,” and certainly as good. Stiles writes a good song in "Leaving” ("I packed up everything you ever gave me/I left it in a box in your garage/Cuz when I unpack in some new town I don’t want your memory coming round/And anyway, there’s no room in my car.”) Their cover of NON’s apocalyptic "I’d Rather Be Your Enemy” is another stroke of cleverness. And so on. Ragged and casual, the Meat Purveyors enjoy a naturalistic evolution from the claw-hammer, boys only club of yore. Viva la difference! (Bloodshot)