“When You Dive”
The best part about “When You Dive” is what happens from the first song to the second. That’s not to say that the rest of the album is a disappointment, but everything that comes after rests upon the table that those first two songs set. Opening track “That Was Love” is a delightful little Americana ballad, and it puts you in a certain mindset for the rest of the album: If you’ve never heard Mary McAdams before, your head kind of settles in for a relaxing ride. Then “Trap Door” kicks in with its bluesy, driving guitar reminiscent of a Robert Rodriguez film and McAdams’ vocals follow close behind with a sharper edge to the words. When listened to in a void, there’s nothing particularly “hard” about the song, but when placed in the proper context, the difference is electric. CV
Mary McAdams plays Ritual Cafe on Friday, Sept. 13.
The Claw Marcs
“The Claw Marcs”
Every time I try to find an easy parallel for The Claw Marcs, it comes out sounding like a backhanded compliment. “Blackhawk 2.0” is like a less bluesy Black Keys; “Burn Baby Burn” is kind of like ZZ Top, if ZZ Top didn’t rely so much on their guitars; and in “911,” front man Skunk chews his way through the lyrics like a kind of low-rent version of Lemmy Kilmister. But, in the end, The Claw Marcs are fun — rough hewn fun, to be sure, but fun indeed. The album isn’t perfect; it could have been mixed a little better, Skunk completely overpowers “Gush” and a couple of the songs feature some clumsy verse structure. But the warts are kind of a part of the band’s appeal. This isn’t music that’s meant to be polished and clean. It’s straight-up dirty rock. CV