Since 2004's Player!, blues-centric guitarist/vocalist Nick Curran left his record label, joined up withKim Wilson's latest incarnation of the Fabulous T-Birds, performed with his own punk-blues combo Deguello, and basically rumbled and tumbled through a number of sundry side projects, all the while eschewing the solo career that led to him taking home the 2004 W.C. Handy Award for Best New Artist Debut. Clearly, this allowed the ever-musically voracious Curran a chance to stretch his chops and imbibe more of the vast array of influences that spark his interests, from '40s jump blues and '50s rock & roll, to '70s punk and '80s hard rock. All of which Curran brings to bear on his fiendishly inspired, 2010 solo comeback Reform School Girl.
A fiery, campy, and insanely rockin' album, Reform School Girlsounds like something along the lines of Little Richard backed by the Misfits with Phil Spectorrecording the proceedings in his garage. Which isn't to say that the album sounds sonically "gross" -- raw, for sure, but ain't that the point?! -- in fact, Curran has hooked up yet-again with his longtime partner in crime Billy Horton who helped deliver the old-school vintage sound that Curran has made his trademark. Further, while Curran can lay blues-pipe as good as any of the other contemporary T-Bone Walker and Jimmie Vaughan freaks, the blues is only one of many connective musical tissues he rips through here. To these ends, the title track finds Curran nodding his Wild One motorcycle cap tothe Ronettes as he humorously turns the standard girl-gone-bad story on its head. Elsewhere, burners like "Kill My Baby," "Psycho," and "Baby You Crazy" are fingersnapping rockers with deliciously nasty sentiments that call into question the exact nature of Curran's romantic devotion. Also inspired is theRitchie Valens-esque rave-up "Filthy" (a Deguello carry-over), and Curran's revelatory head-thumping take on AC/DC's "Rocker."
With Curran sadly amiss from our day to day grind it's musical icon albums such as this which are the jewels in our crowns as we build anew and forge ahead in against the corporate jungle of mass production and filth that surrounds us daily. Take it one step back, give it one more punch, lay another kick and leave the corporate music industry bleeding in the street and raise Curran to that of cult hero status where he undoubtedly and righteously rests today in our memory. We miss you Nick