Greyhound Afternoons (4*)

Friday, 25 January 2013

Greyhound Afternoons.jpg

From the opening notes of Fine-Ass Chemise there’s no doubt we’re talking New Orleans and, really there’s nowhere else the brew that Alex McMurray and company have fashioned could have come from. Sure, there’s an absence of the trademark N’Awlins brass and keyboards, but that drum pattern is, to me, 100% Crescent City, and there’s a fair serve of gumbo fonk in McMurray’s guitar work.

Not, of course, that you’re totally sure what McMurray’s on about. There’s a present involved with Fine-Ass Chemise, but what Billy and Lulu were up to in the rest of the song ain’t too clear from where I’m sitting. And I’m not concerned, and nor am I worried about the finer details of Bandrowski's Turban, three and a bit minutes of oddball behaviour that leads nicely into the degenerate themes of Bad Apples. The protagonist and partner might be a couple of bad apples but you’ll always be my honeybunch, which says something about the path of true love, but I’m not sure what it is.

There’s a touch of tenderness running through Echoes in My Mind and the laid back vibe continues through Blurry‘s introspective take on itchy feet, which comes to the conclusion that there's always tomorrow, always another town, and the thought that your dreams disperse like butterflies/and maybe/everything that seems so cut-and-dry is blurry.

Long, Tall, Cool’s take on a drinker’s long-lived love with the morning glass of water after the night before makes it three slow dreamy numbers in a row, so Someday's Coming makes for a timely change of pace, a lively little number that delivers an interesting take on Judgement Day.

McMurray drops the tempo back for Peregrinitos, which continues with the theme of Greyhound nomads, though maybe it’s time to settle down, a notion that only lasts until the start of Sweet Sixteen and the down and out misfit theme continues through No Man Is an Island‘s contrarian nose-thumbing take on convention.

Way up Yonder in New Orleans sits somewhere on the edge of a bayou further down towards the Mississippi mouth and that’s presumably the point of departure for Mr. Corn‘s starting line suggesting the protagonist is about to sail away in a suitcase, though one can’t help thinking there’s a fair degree of distilled product contributing to the drowsy daydreams.

Overall, Greyhound Afternoons mightn’t quite match its predecessor, and one can’t help suspecting it’s a cleaning up operation before the outfit called it a day, but there’s enough here to sustain interest and ensure I’ll be keeping an eye out for anything else McMurray comes up with.

© Ian Hughes 2012