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I'm a big Nick Cave fan and I was pleased to see a CD from a former band mate of Nick's pass along my desk this week. It seems fitting to revisit a piece of Nick's past after just seeing him live two weeks ago here in Detroit.   

Rowland S. Howard is the former band mate of Nick's that I am speaking about. He was there in the very beginning with Nick in the bands The Boys Next Door who later morphed into The Birthday Party.
Rowland brought a distinctive guitar noise to both bands that would become legendary.

Rowland S. Howard passed away shortly after the original release of his Pop Crimes album in 2009. His previous solo album was released 10 years prior. Fat Possum Records just re-released Pop Crimes this week and I gave it a listen. 
Rest assured because you will get Rowland's effects drenched feedback, single note surf riffs, and power chords on this album. Rowland also brings along former Boys Next Door/Birthday Party band mate Mick Harvey along for the ride. Harvey plays drums on the album.

In my opinion, there are some stand out tracks on the album and a few throwaways.
Stand out tracks include "(I Know) A Girl Called Jonny" which features a duet with Rowland and Jonnine Standish of the Australian band HTRK. The female vocals delivered by Standish blend naturally like a Nancy Sinatra/Lee Hazlewood duet. This song captures a 70's vibe and I can easily see it in a episode of Twin Peaks. A lustful slow-dance melody with the chorus being "She's my narcotic lollipop, I put my fingers in his mouth.'' 

"Pop Crimes" is one of my favorites on this album. Rolands signature sound is represented on this track. You can hear that sound that brought him to light with the Birthday Party in the 80's. 
Rowland and the band kills it on "Wayward Man". Great musicianship on this track. And a rockin' chorus....
"I'm the fly in the ointment, Your constant disappointment, Just because I can, Be a wayward man"
Rowland goes gothic country on the track "Nothin'". It's a Townes Van Zandt cover and I dig it.
"Life's What You Make It" was original released by the band Talk Talk and released in 1985. Rowland takes a forgettable New Wave version of the song and stamps his No Wave style on it.

"Avé Maria", "The Golden Age Of Bloodshed", and "Shut Me Down" are throwaway tracks in my opinion. There may be some good lyrics on these tracks, but the songs as a whole just don't do anything for me.
If your a fan or occasional listener to Rowland S. Howards previous work you will want to pick this one up. His guitar style is present on this album, but don't expect perfection. This is Rowland's epitaph in musical format and he will be missed.
Listen to the title track HERE  
Get the new album at Fat Possum Records