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Listen to Barrence Whitfield and Mighty Manfred of The Woggles Talk All Things Garage Rock

"The Professor" Mighty Manfred of Atlanta garage rock perennials The Woggles​ interviewed our resident rock-n-roll madman Barrence Whitfield​ for SiriusXM Radio​'s The Underground Garage​! Listen below to hear them lay the rock knowledge on thick. You'll likely find your new favorite band from these cats.  

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Barrence Whitfield is at his most savage on 'Under the Savage Sky'

Greg Kot

Chicago Tribunegreg​@gregkot.com

Welcome to his nightmare. Barrence Whitfield sings like a man grappling with insanity through most of "Under the Savage Sky" (Bloodshot), and he's not going quietly. Instead, Whitfield and the Savages throw a party -- or is it a fit? -- while busting out of their straitjackets.

The quintet perfected a Molotov cocktail of R&B, rockabilly and punk while part of the early-'80s Boston scene. It relied on obscure covers and built a formidable reputation as a live act, then splintered. Founding members Whitfield, guitarist Peter Greenberg and bassist Phil Lenker reunited a few years ago and their 2012 comeback album, "Dig Thy Savage Soul," put a new emphasis on original songwriting that stretched the band's dramatic boundaries.

On the new album, Greenberg again contributes a handful of songs to the toughest sounding Savages recording yet, and his "Willow" sets the tone. With its nuclear riff suggesting a Stooges outtake, the track ramps up in intensity until Whitfield's voice unravels. "Adjunct City" provides the flip side, a moody yet hard-riffing 3 a.m. confessional about temptation and lust. A cover of Timmy Willis' 1970 soul nugget, "I'm a Full Grown Man," allows Whitfield to flesh out the origins of his narrator's obsessions: "I fell in love at the age of 3." The driving would-be dance craze "The Claw" provides a respite, and "I'm a Good Man" sounds like a well-intentioned but ultimately hopeless case of wishful thinking.

On "The Wolf Pack," Whitfield howls into the darkness, and "Angry Hands" oozes menace with its churning guitar and diary-of-a-lunatic narrative: "Cruel birds taunting me from the trees." By the end, his bloody demise gets downright surreal: "Why must the last thing that I see be the bright full moon in the daylight sky?" As implied by the album cover, which evokes a scene from Alfred Hitchcock's horror classic "The Birds," the Savages aren't just reviving their past, they're taking their music to new levels of madness.

'Under the Savage Sky'

Barrence Whitfield and the Savages

(Bloodshot)

3 stars

greg@gregkot.com

Twitter @gregkot