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  Picture Us
  Money or Rope
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Money For Rope is a five-piece Australian blues rock band. It seems odd to me that they are Australian and not from, say, Texas. The way the vocals are pronounced is much more Waylon Jennings than Steve Irwin, but i guess since they are making music in an American style, they had to sing with American accents. That seems really odd to me, but i guess that is pretty normal.

One other interesting thing about the band is that they say they have 2 drummers: Erik Scerba and Chris Loftis. They are both credited on the album alongside the bassist, keyboardist, and vocalist/guitarist, so i think the implication is that there are two drum parts on each song. I don't really hear that, although the drumming in general is good. I just don't see what doubling up on drummers gives them... But whatever.

The music is, as i said above, a kind of raucous blues rock. It is pretty engaging too.

The album kicks with a droning guitar loop in Hold. Jules McKenzie's voice comes in all scratchy and lo-fi, but he is spitting and ranting like this is a male-fronted Alabama Shakes. The song starts off kind of folky, but gets rocking and swinging in the middle, the whole band tearing at it. A nice way to set the tone for the record.

Guitarist / vocalist Jules McKenzie starts off Actually playing a bluesy riff and singing like Isaac Brock on later Modest Mouse records, that sort of gaspy almost shouting kind of vocal. This is a solid tune that swaggers along forcefully.

Stretched My Neck is fuzzy and sloppy, McKenzie as a white boy soul singer belting through distortion. It gives the song a sort of Britpop feel, but the song ends with a joyously noisy romp.

Keyboardist Rick Parnaby steps forward to play lead on O'Chelles, a song which bounces along as an organ driven pop tune. McKenzie's voice is close, and he kind of talks the vocals. The organ and the vocals all give this a hint of a Chicano Batman feel.

A funky riff kicks off the epic Remember My Name, the guitar keeping a tense riff as the rhythm rumbles ominously. Then the organ erupts, and McKenzie's sings, though distortion, tenseness in his voice. On the verses it moves along nervously, the bass a rumbling swagger, then on the chorus the organ drones and the song gets all tense and accusatory. This is awesome. Is this their radio hit? It should be a radio hit!

They follow up with Early Grey another rocking tune with a great bass riff. Bassist Ted Dempsey really lays it down here, almost swinging along. McKenzie is back to his Isaac Brock roots for Trashtown, with Parnaby playing a bouncy keyboard riff.

The swinging feel of Look takes them back to Chicano Batman, only McKenzie doesn't sing falsetto so much here. Then, on the chorus they slow it down and really pound at it, the song swelling up to density before thinning back out on the choruses.

McKenzie channels Lou Reed on Picture Us, talking his vocals rhythmically as the guitar picks along and the organ drones.

And they end this wonderful rocking record with ... a folk ballad? It's true, weirdly enough, with a song called What Takes So Long that is pretty much McKenzie strumming and singing. Ugh. Not the best end to a rollicking good record.

But this is a lot of fun to listen to. These five Aussies really throw it down, creating fun songs that move along with great beats. I bet they are a blast in concert!

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