Faceless Werewolves

Record review

Texas Platters

Faceless Werewolves

Medium Freaky (Super Secret)

Enigmatic, beguiling, and a little dangerous, Austin's Faceless Werewolves beckon with one hand while hiding a sledgehammer behind their backs with the other. If that sounds a shade cartoonish, it's no accident. Erica Barton and Kelsey Wickliffe's Betty Boop vocals dominate the Denton transplants' 11-song debut, conjuring a girlish innocence that masks the sinister impulses and very grownup desires lurking in the back of their minds: an irresistible amputee on "One Arm Man," claustrophobic restlessness on "What Are You Waiting For?" It's a sleight of hand pulled off to perfection on "My Weakness," opening as a spot-on reproduction of Aerosmith's "Back in the Saddle" before becoming a runaway punk rock id that's equal parts come-on and confession. Doing his best Thurston Moore, Baldomero Valdez completes this bizarre love triangle with deceptive detachment; his understated cool on "Nothing" only squeezes the tension tighter. Imagine a midnight cabal of the Stooges, Bikini Kill, and Nancy Sinatra, and you're halfway there. From the most basic guitar-guitar-drums ingredients (no bass allowed), the Werewolves unfurl a disconcerting document of nightmares, obsession, and gunplay that's, needless to say, one of the sexiest local albums of the year. Medium Freaky is maximum rock & roll.

***.5

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