Buried In The Backyard Of My Heart

The Hit & Mrs.

Independent release, 2007

http://www.thehitandmrs.com

REVIEW BY: Jason Warburg

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 11/26/2007

When last we encountered those musical extreme-sports athletes The Hit & Mrs., they were cranking out the utterly unique Web-only album 100 Under 60.  That’s as in 100 songs under 60 seconds.  Don’t bother asking why -- “because we can” being the obvious choice -- because the point of mentioning this feat is simply to set the scene for the first quote-unquote normal album from this endearingly demented trio.

Nelson “Nelly” Heise (vocals, guitars, keys, mandolin, harmonica), Robert “Bubba” Heise (backing vocals, bass, keys) and Stacie “V. Stak” Archer (drums, percussion) are The Hit & Mrs., and their vibe is as original as any group with this many influences could be.  Opener “Hijaxed,” in addition to containing the witty lyric from which the album earns its title, is like a Bizarro-world mind-meld between Whiskeytown and T.Rex, a rockabilly beat getting sledgehammered by fat glammy guitars as Nelson Heise’s playfully greasy vocals ride the crest of this shambolic romp.  my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

“Little Miss Sunshine” and “Corina” continue the theme of big fuzzy guitars over interesting backbeats.  The former’s a double-time rhythm whose punk undertones are prettied up with acoustic rhythm guitar and organ; the latter somehow manages to lope and thunder all at once as the song’s heavy guitars, deadpan lead vocals and off-center lyrics bring the band’s Kinks fixation into focus.

“Been A Long Time” offers a more ballady flavor while still packing plenty of punch in the choruses -- and then things get seriously heavy and weird as the boys let their inner Pixies run wild with the dark, swirling, super-heavy “Pasadena” into “Burning Circles” into “Graveyard Digger.”  Yikes!

Things finally ease up again a bit as “7” rolls along -- as track 10, of course.  Or at least, it starts out with a rather trance-y, droning feel under Nelson’s dark and twisting lyric, until the song abruptly shifts tone and then shifts again.  It’s almost like they took three different arrangements from 100 Under 60 and spliced them into one song.  Things don’t get any more settled as you proceed.  By the time the desperate, bludgeoning “Two Days Later” finishes, you’re looking for some sort of relief, which arrives in the form of the sarcastically jaunty pop of closer “Disguise,” whose acid lyric finishes things out in full snark mode.

Buried In The Backyard Of My Heart has a lot going on under its mercurial surface -- you don’t write songs this intense without having a few demons around in need of exorcism -- but the arrangements and performances are full of enthusiasm and panache.  For a group awash in influences, The Hit & Mrs. manage to deliver an album that feels bracingly fresh.

Rating: B+

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