Album: Dave Cloud & The Gospel Of Power, Fever (Fire Records)

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The Independent Culture

Nashville's resident "garage-rock lounge lizard extraordinaire", Dave Cloud looks like Jim Royle readying himself for a "tom tit" trip to the loo, and sounds like something nasty lurking in the undergrowth waiting to scare small children.

Which means he's hardly likely to scare even the lower reaches of the charts, despite the obvious affection for pop that surfaces in his frequent cover-versions of old 1960s hits. In the case of the half-dozen tracks of Fever, that means the Stones' "The Citadel" and, more impressively, a version of the Beau Brummels's garage-pop classic "Just a Little" lent a sinister edge through Cloud's zombie-like double-tracked vocal murmur. His Beefheartian growl is best employed on the title-track, a literal account of illness, and "Surfer Joe", where over trepidatious Spanish guitar he outlines the eponymous wave-rider's exploits in Mexico, an account further confused by the delayed vocal repetition of lines like "Did I say zydeco? If I did, I'll go hide-eco/ Did I say calypso? If I did, well button my lips-eco". For "In the Distance", detuned piano ramblings attend his mumblings about a girl with "magnetic brown eyes"; but both here and on "No Matter Where You Been", his declarations of affection sound more like threats than promises. Idiosyncratic doesn't come close.

Download this: Fever, Just a Little, Surfer Joe