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Album Review

NINE N OUT
Dick

Just when you think it's safe to go outside at night, along comes Carla Bueno to kick you in the balls and remind you that the world is indeed not your oyster, Rocky Mountain or otherwise. The Bueno, not really known for her diplomatic ways, jumps high and kicks hard on the title track of Nine N Out's latest album and, no it isn't about Nixon though on one level it very well could be. It is about, well, dicks (assholes, pricks, shitheads, bigots). Don't take it personal if you have one. Dickdom is universal or so it seems and what Bueno does on this song is to simply point it out. You cannot deny the truth in the chorus (“Just because you have one doesn't mean you have to be one.....”) and, let's face it, even the best of people need to be reminded now and again. Better to be reminded with steam train crunch and drivin' beat than to be physically judo-chopped into submission and, yes, I'm sure Bueno could do that as well. She can multi-task. If you don't believe it, just catch one of their shows.

I find it exhilarating to watch a band just put together through the Internet a handful of years ago progress like Nine N Out has. They started rough, a buzz saw punk mentality channeling music. They grew, reaching into a few genres I would not have thought possible, even played a touch of the fifties vocal group card on a couple of earlier tracks.

And they're still growing. Dick is strides ahead of what they were at the beginning, both musically and lyrically. Joe Lee's drumming is solid and adaptable to each song, Steve Connolly's guitar continues its slash and burn ways, Bueno's voice is more controlled though her attitude is not) and as a result more effective. This time around, though, they have added newcomer Darryl Buske's always pounding and sometimes rolling bass. I'm not saying that he drives the band, just that his addition seems to have raised the band to another level, to have made them more of a group.

It doesn't hurt that the songwriting is better than ever, either. The music leans a bit more towards hard rock than previously and I find that in places I hear early seventies hard rock values in both song and sound. I would have liked to have given writing credit for songs, but the band prefers to put their money into the recording rather than the package, so songwriting credits are limited to publishing (they are published by Nine N Out Music). I am pretty sure Bueno wrote Dick, at least the lyrics, but beyond that I am at a loss. No big deal, though. This is as good an effort as I've heard from them and who wrote the songs is a small matter. The songs are what count and, hell, I dig them all.

You've not heard of Nine N Out? They've had plenty of press, especially considering that they are primarily a bar band (their motto at the moment is “Rockin' Seattle one dive bar at a time”), and most of it has been very positive. Charles Cross, ex-Rocket magnate and music historian of note, likened their last album (Fremont Chic) to a mixture of garage and new wave and far be it for me to argue. I would love to hear what he thinks of Dick (I am sure he digs it), whether he hears the subtle lean toward hard rock that I hear. Sometimes I'm not sure if I get things right and when a critic of substance agrees with me, it makes me think I have at least a hint of respectability even if it's just regarding the one album or song.

But you. You want a real hint? Dick. Check this album out. Nine N Out fans have to be ecstatic (it is hard to hear these guys without an appreciation of not only what they do but who they are). It was a long wait. Nine N Out have as loyal a fan base as I've seen for any of today's bands and those who aren't fans yet could very well become fans in just a few listens. Go see them live. People say that they give you more than your money's worth and those atrophying muscles used mainly to keep the body upright whilst surfing the TV or Net could probably use a workout. Now that I think of it, they have another motto: “Get off your ass and dance!” Be forewarned. You'll more than likely want to kick your normal dance moves to the curb. When these guys play, it's all out war and you know what they say about war.....

(Above photo of Carla Bueno courtesy of Mark Bussinger http://www.reverbnation.com/markbussingerscattershotrecording)

Frank O. Gutch Jr.

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