Band: Andre Williams and The Sadies
Album: Night and Day
Label: Yep Roc Records
Gritty, raw, honest, and drenched in bourbon. This record is the soundtrack to those sweat-soaked mornings when you wake up not knowing where the hell you are, or the name of the person lying next to you, and you really don’t give a shit either way. You’ll breakfast on stale whiskey and cigarettes, watch dawn rise over a city that you long to escape, and love to hate.
Night and Day was apparently begun back in 2008, when Andre Williams was 70 years old and still using drugs quite heavily, and the heart-wrenching experiences that must have driven him to use is evident in many of the songs on here. I’ve heard echoes of this kind of “ugly beauty” in some of Bill Bourne’s music, and it’s great to hear such intensity in association with a solid Canadian act like The Sadies. Pairing with them was a brilliant idea, and seems to have elevated their own significant talent a notch or two. I’ve long been a fan of their music (both their solo work and their collaboration with Neko Case), and teaming up with Williams has given this record a deep, rich sound that’s good and rough around the edges. While many of the Sadies’ tracks from previous albums have had a lighthearted-yet-melancholy air, this body of work sounds like the band members have all been taken out to back alleys and beaten ‘til raw, then given their instruments and told to show us, not tell us, how it felt.
Blunt and raunchy, devoid of any masks, any pretense, Night and Day slides beneath the skin and pours itself into your very bones, right to the marrow. The songs speak of time in jail, of nailing a best friend’s woman while he’s been in jail, of pain, anguish, and even downright boredom. The only track on the album I wasn’t fond of was “Hey Baby”, as it was strangely bubbly and seemed like the rhombus-shaped peg in this round-holed board. If anything, it might have been fun as a hidden track at the end of the record, but finding it smack in the middle there was a bit jarring.
The feel of the entire album makes me think of music that may have graced the soundtrack to True Blood, with all of the viscera, elation, despair, loss, and lust that the South can inspire.There’s fire, and there’s some light, and beneath it all is a dark current that unnerves and titillates at turns.