|Happy indeed at NYC's Mercury Lounge!...photo by Gulshan Kirat|
Shilpa Ray And Her Happy Hookers feature Ray on the most RAWKING use of the least used instrument in rock, the harmonium. The four-piece from New York City have the aggressiveness of early Bad Seeds, the bi-polar qualities of PJ Harvey's first two albums, mixed with a poets heart. Bandleader Shilpa Ray is a force on stage, leaving one feeling like they just witnessed an exorcism. The music gets its inspiration from horror movies, the blues and Beat poetry. The rhythm section pounds and churls, guitars alternate between slashing stabs and lilting arpeggios with the organ qualities of the harmonium taking the whole sound to church. The most arresting instrument is Ray's voice which can range from melodious to soaring vociferate howls, often with in a few bars. This music is theatrical and intense, built for big venues and they should lay waste to the relatively small Bottom of the Hill. If Shilpa Ray And The Happy Hookers were a movie genre they would be a redemptive horror/slasher pic. It's no wonder Nick Cave hand-picked them to open up dates on the recent Grinderman tour - the two are musical kindred spirits. Shilpa Ray And Her Happy Hookers are on tour in support of the January release of their second album Teenage and Torture on Knitting Factory Records. This is a show that will be worth every penny as they are hot on the heels of some white HOTT SXSW shows. Look for a review here on Friday!