The masters of the rock miniature are back. Less than a year after their debut full-length, the critically acclaimed MORE SONGS FROM THE MELLOW STRUGGLE, the duo known as Swearing At Motorists have another album for the public to parade behind. We know it hasn’t been long, but sometimes life’s cycles run oblong and you find yourself with less things to kick the dog about than usual. Perhaps it was that ’99 was such a fallow year record-wise for the Motorists, perhaps releasing no records in the last year of the ’90s put a little pressure on Dave Doughman and Don Thrasher to return to their frenzied form (aside from MORE SONGS, 2000 has seen the release of two 7″es and a handful of compilation appearances). Or perhaps songwriter Doughman had a whole lotta lousy times to inspire him to write what are easily the best songs of his career. It’s the sorta thing that makes a label salivate and gleefully quake, when an artist goes through relationship troubles. Indeed, the gambling men among you will call NUMBER SEVEN UPTOWN a sour relationship album. Yes, the carcass of the relationship that spans this record is weathered, worn, and — by the last song — pretty much rotted. And Doughman’s emotional ambivalence on what appears to be his life crumbling before his eyes is what makes this album so sweet for all the twisted souls out there — us included — who love to watch another man have a lousy time. Better him than us, right?
Cut from the same blue cloth as the late great Hank Williams, and landing somewhere between Richard Hell’s DESTINY STREET, Neil Young’s ZUMA and The Breeders’ THE POD, NUMBER SEVEN UPTOWN finds Swearing At Motorists at their finest hour. Drummer Thrasher, a veteran of Guided By Voices, the New Creatures and the Hope Fools, provides the perfect steady beat that echoes hallmark drummers like Charlie Watts, Moe Tucker and Hal Blaine. Singer/guitarist Doughman, known for prowling the stage during live shows like a spastic mix of Prince and Jon Spencer, proves to be a man of all seasons, having also produced the album.