Petunia Inside of You

PetuniaInside of You
7
On Inside of You, the followup to 2012's Petunia & the Vipers, Petunia and his Vipers take us once again on an unsettling trip to the darker edges of their eclectic brand of Americana to meet a series of bizarre characters, from the firefighting miracle worker on the hypnotic "Holy Budge Winters" to the dying cowboy of the chilling "Gunned Down" ("I've been gunned down!/ I've been gunned down!/ And my life's blood will soon drain away…").

Along the way, the band skilfully explore careening rockabilly ("Runaway Freight Train Heart," whose breakneck rhythm mimics the title's freight train), lusty blues (the spooky, Biblical "Primitive Love") and even East European gypsy jazz (the string- and horn-adorned "Forgotten Melody"). Petunia also shows off a more tender side on the carefree Western swing of "Bicycle Song" ("Well I don't have a nickel and I don't have a dime/ But I'm riding on my bicycle and I have a good time") and the moving after-hours jazz of "Oh My Mother" (reprised in Spanish as a bonus track).

Inside of You stumbles at times (Petunia's hiccup-y yodels can be a bit of an acquired taste, and a minute-long monologue on the otherwise straightforward folk of the title track will test the patience of many listeners), but when the band is firing on all cylinders, as on the closing one-two Sun Records punch of "They Almost Had Me Believing" and "Tears Drops Rolling," they sound like nothing so much as a Lynchian dive's overqualified house band. (Independent)