Casting a sonic spell that’s spooky, hypnotic, and often nightmarish, Bourbon Princess mixes droning bass, world-weary tenor saxophone, jazzy percussion, and washes of textural guitar into a startlingly original ensemble sound. Fronted by bassist and vocalist Monique Ortiz, and powered by Morphine’s original drummer, Jerome Deupree—whose tom-rich rhythms evoke vintage Velvet Underground—the band specializes in mysterious, rumbling grooves. Saxist Russ Gershon wraps his lines around Ortiz’s husky alto voice like an anguished lover, while guitarist Jim Moran artfully fills the cracks with subtle, liquid colors. Ortiz writes about the intoxicated, seamy side of life in such frank, unflinching detail that some listeners may miss the telepathic musical interplay that underpins her lyrics. Engineer Paul Q. Kolderie (Morphine, Hole, Radiohead, Warren Zevon) keeps the swirling sounds sharply focused. Fans of Tom Waits, Portishead, and Nick Cave will feel right at home.
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