Power(house) trio Cusses hails from Savannah, which isn’t necessarily known as a rock ‘n’ roll hotbed but should be on the radar of scene-watchers everywhere if this 2-guy, 1-gal combo is any signpost. That they have Los Angeles roots is immediately evident, however, as the ten tracks on their self-titled debut fairly bleed at the seams: there’s a classic glam-slam punk core here bolstered by touches of hardcore, psychedelic garage and metallic grunge, vocalist Angel Bond yelping and snarling with operatic abandon against Bryan Harder’s massive sheets of guitars and Brian Lackey’s thunderous avalanche of percussion. (Bond and Lackey lived in L.A. before relocating to Georgie, where they hooked up with Harder, an old pal of Lackey’s.)
Recorded with Dan Hannon (Manchester Orchestra) at the venerable Echo Mountain Studios in Asheville, NC, Cusses is a study in controlled chaos with standout tracks including “Blood Everywhere” (anthemic and unerringly melodic in the finest sing-along fashion) and “Memorial” (atmospheric yet earthy, skillfully navigating the light/heavy, soft/loud dynamic axis. The album also manages to conjure favorable images of the alt-nineties before the hordes of Seattle wannabes ruined that decade; check the sinewy “Hey You,” with its cinematic vibe, or the doomy, dramatic “Don’t Give In” – the latter a showcase for Bond, who unleashes her inner Eddie Vedder. It’s a big, bold sound that Cusses unleash, and it’s not for the timid, either. But the sense of psychic exhilaration one comes away with is absolutely worth the physical exhaustion: these folks clearly mean what they’re doing, and you can’t help but be swept up in the sonic tsunami.