Our narrator Adrian H sings grim stories of broken characters of flesh and blood, human tragedies that chase shivers down the listener’s spine. His narrative style, spoken and sung in a hoarse, sonorous voice rides atop The Wounds’ solid accompaniment which exudes an almost tangible sinister atmosphere. Sultry, passionate and intense through and through, the compositions provide the perfect drive and spark that Adrian’s narrative story-telling requires. Adrian’s ever-present piano forms the basis for the arrangements which rock with a cabaret post-punk mood à la Bauhaus and Love And Rockets.
The songs as stories are presented in a dark, brooding film noir style, as if told in a smoky joint in a backwater southern town populated by characters at the edge of society; they’re broken and yet more whole than its shining citizens. These men and women are not presented as sinners but as rounded human beings condemned to life as it is without the need for redemption. They are ‘real’ if you like, observed by Adrian H as a modern day and more mature Bukowski who has chucked the excess and honed his stories to a razor-sharp point. It’s all quite literate, dark and brooding, yet fused with speakeasy black humor.
Throughout, Adrian H’s feverish vocals create a rapport with the listener. You’re not just eavesdropping on his songs, you’re transported to a malevolent side of town, just a step away from a knife blade and the deep, black abyss.
Featured on the album are Adrian’s re-possession of three well-known tracks. First off is Tom Waits, ‘Hoist That Rag’ where Adrian leads The Wounds with a blistering organ through a bloody battle of saxophone, piano and percussive textures to claim victory at its end with a call to arms chorus and a tip of the hat to old Tom. Later, the band is on the vaudeville stage for “Chim Chim Cher-ee” with a dark cabaret atmosphere and three-quarter time; the harmless children’s song suddenly turned into an angry nightmare. A haunting version of Bain Wolfkind’s “Border Patrol” finishes the album with its sexy saxophone and crime-ridden streets; “a man lays dead in the snow,” Adrian H intones, knowing all too well it could be a stranger just as easily as it could be himself.
Each song is a world all its own, sometimes introspective, sometimes vaudeville, sometimes driving post-punk, often very catchy and always very emotional.
Adrian’s murder’n crime tales would work as a Tim Burton soundtrack: pitch-black moments, blackhearted and gloomy, yet sizzling and captivating. Adrian’s virulent and venemous vocals deliver grim stories with musical echoes of Nick Cave and Tom Waits.