Blaine Cartwright appears to mean business when he declares NASHVILLE PUSSY's new album "Up the Dosage" to be his band's "Back in Black". Well, maybe that's too hefty a claim since "Pussy's Not a Dirty Word" is the only song that sounds remotely like AC/DC on this album. Blaine and NASHVILLE PUSSY have always been knucklehead savants, thus one is wont to call Blaine's avowal a potential ruse. After all, Blaine wags on this album about getting it on with a chick that's "meaner than shit, hotter than Hell" and "10 months pregnant" on "Before the Drugs Wear Off". There's a shot of Jack Daniel's Devil's Cut waiting to numb your overthinking head if you dig too deeply into that one. That, and reminder spins of "Piece of Ass" and "Blowjob from a Rattlesnake" off of NASHVILLE PUSSY's 2000 offering, "Higher than Hell".
All that being said, "Up the Dosage" is, by all means, NASHVILLE PUSSY's funniest and most energetic album in years. With song titles like "Before the Drugs Wear Off", "Rub it to Death", "The South is Too Fat to Rise Again", "Pillbilly Blues", "Hooray for Cocaine, Hooray for Tennessee" and "Pussy's Not a Dirty Word", you know the old NASHVILLE PUSSY's come back to play. Having settled over their last few albums for straight-up piss rock, "Up the Dosage"plugs in to all stations of their catalog and NASHVILLE PUSSY knocks out a home run to kick 2014 off with a steel-tipped, shitkickin' right pump.
The hilarious "Rub it to Death" and "Spent" are NASHVILLE PUSSY's fastest tracks since "Let Them Eat Pussy" and "High as Hell". Appropriate the masturbatory implications of "Rub it to Death" is given the gas, straight down to Blaine's quick and lascivious woofing of the word "rub" on the choruses. His wifey Ruyter Suys whips a gooey solo here and later on "Spent". In fact, she's at the top of her rowdy game all throughout "Up the Dosage", spilling out two lengthy solos on "Beginning of the End" and cranking out serious decibels on the opening number, "Everybody's Fault but Mine". Listen up for Ruyter to take the lead vocals on the abbreviated rawker "Taking it Easy" before churning an up-tempo doom-meets-KISS groove on "White and Loud", which she also wrote.
"'Til the Meat Falls Off the Bone" reportedly originated in Blaine Cartwright's archives since the Seventies and he describes it as "a kind of AEROSMITH-meets-PUSSY track". He's actually dead-on with this assertion as Ruyter lays down an electric blues hump straight out of the sweaty yesteryears of AEROSMITH. There's a little AEROSMITH jive to "Beginning of the End" as well, and the blaring riffs between Blaine and Ruyter ride high atop Bonnie Buitrago's springing bass lines and Jeremy Thompson's shucking tempo.
"The South is Too Fat to Rise Again" is likely to cheese off a few folks beneath the Mason-Dixon, but the banging groove and Blaine's hysterical indictment "I'm gonna say somethin' that's for our own good, my friends" and "having heart attacks while trying to wipe our ass", as Ruyter Suys and Bonnie Buitrago ply like honky tonk divas behind him is a total scream.
There are shades of Ted Nugent and ZZ TOP amping up the grinding title cut and "Pillbilly Blues". The Nuge especially plays into the latter cut with its sleazy drive and shaker sub-rhythms, but Bonnie Buitrago makes this one hers with some gnashing bass trundles on the first couple verses before Blaine and Ruyter riff the crap out of the song. Then the band throws their listeners a huge curve with a little hit of pure country, ridden by dobro and mandolin instead of blaring static on "Hooray for Cocaine, Hooray for Tennessee". Blaine conveys lyrically "both made a mess of me" on this cut and you have to respect his moxy.
What's best about "Up the Dosage" aside from its vitality and dynamics is its professional yet grimy sound, thanks in large part to a slick remix job from SHINEDOWN producer Rick Beato. Beato has the right idea by pushing the guitar riffs as loud as the front areas can contain them without drowning out Buitrago and Thompson. Somehow, Ruyter and Blaine come off like blaring rock sovereigns without intercutting their rhythm section, thus the album sounds as large it's professed to be.
Sure, NASHVILLE PUSSY eats lady bassists up like, well, you know, but they've always been an entertaining rock 'n roll band, even if many folks have been hankering for the adrenaline rush of "Let Them Eat Pussy", still the band's best offering to-date. You get two hits of speed on "Up the Dosage", but even better, Ruyter Suys and Bonnie Buitrago just might gel better than Buitrago's predecessors, the outrageous Corey Parks notwithstanding. For certain, Ruyter and Bonnie tap into some of the best backing vocal harmonies in the history of NASHVILLE PUSSY. Perhaps there's the benefit of some killer songwriting and production at work here, but "Up the Dosage" is all that and some yummy down with a 90 proof chaser.