Twisted Lines & Mixed Up Rhymes
Bob Collum and the Welfare Mothers feel bad so you can feel good. 'Twisted Lines and Mixed Up Rhymes' Love/Hate, heavy drinking, devils, domestic sparring and the occasional hurricaine, these are the new themes of journeyman expat singer-songwriter, Oklahoman Bob Collum, on Twisted Lines and Mixed Up Rhymes' an Atomic Powered Records EP. Aided and abetted by Allan Kelly's essential pedal steel and dobro, Nevil Kiddier's low down bass and high and lonesome mandolin, and Paul Quarry's drums backbeating the beaten down tales of woe on show, the overall impression is one of cut up alt-country fed through a rock'n'roll wringer, with the blue juice flowing thick and fast. Over five raw and livewired rock'n'country'n'western (country'n'wasted?) mini-masterpieces, Collum and his band knocks out song after song each brief in duration but long in the tooth. Songs of unsought experience these be, led by the classy classic push of 'My Little Hurricaine', wherein Bob deploys cool Buddy Holly breaks that proves again that the appeal of simplicity this simple cannot be underestimated. Lurking humour and humble pie filling do the rest, making this the icing on a cake, the heaviness of which is sometimes hard, if delicious, to digest. After the heady updrafts of 'My Little Hurricaine' there is an iceberg tip that rises all too soon with 'She Hates Me', a not-love song essentially uncomfortable truth with a chorus. Stinging like a lost loveletter paper cut, even it's jaunty solo is painfully well-judged, making this a hate song you'll love. Likewise, 'Behind the Bottle', an honest account of the curse of alcohol - the sole song here co-written, with Nevil Kiddier - is classic country content done with modest and touching style. If anything this sees Bob Collum slimming down an already lean sound, crunching these numbers to sub-prime segments of one perforated piece of pain. It's enjoyable, to say the least, clever without being cloying, and played as ever with the taste and touches that have made Bob and his Mothers an alt-country country cult. 'Devil in the Details' is The Beatles Go West, an exercise in laid-back-and-insight, Be sure and check out the demented yet right Allan Kelly steel guitar solo played with one foot in Nashville and the other somewhere on the Astral Plane. 'I'm tired of you and you're sick of me' sings Bob with candid relish on the final track 'Knockdown Dragout', a comedown is hard as sleeping on a floor. The song's wordplay about fighting is almost glib, but the laughs are a lot more hard won and hollow, informed by deflation. Produced by proxy Welfare Mom Pat Collier, Collum's new EP tells stories as old as four-four time and then some. Let 'Twisted Lines and Mixed Up Rhymes' pick you up and then blow you down. It hurts so good!