Loene Carmen – Rock ‘n’ Roll Tears review

Loene Carmen is cool. In fact, Loene Carmen is so undeniably fucking cool that she could have been lifted straight out of a Tarantino movie, and on her third long-player, Rock ‘n’ Roll Tears, her familiarly breathy, sultry vocal sits perfectly atop a combination of dirty blues, rock and country, which bursts from the stereo like a bar-room brawl between The Velvet Underground, Mazzy Star and The Jesus and Mary Chain. And that, I think you will agree, is pretty fucking cool.

After the typically raw title-track opens proceedings, the suitably-titled Nashville High nods in the direction of the reminiscence of The Raveonettes‘s latest album, with Carmen’s distinctive enunciation oozing sex-appeal, while standout track Everybody (Makes Me Wanna Lie Down) is a fuzzy rock romp.In Don’t Let Her Slip Away, Carmen spits: “Show her what a motherfuckin’ man you are,” with a delicious malevolence that suggests this is a woman not to be messed with. Conversely, she also offers several poignant moments, like the atmospheric and haunting Wild Wind. It is an intriguing juxtaposition; at times she comes across as a vivacious rock siren, yet elsewhere she has the downbeat disposition of a former small-town American beauty queen working as a waitress in some shitty road-side diner, sorrowfully pouring cups of hot mud for truckers.

Skillfully backed by Sam Worrad of Holy Soul, Jed Kurzel of the wonderful Mess Hall and Paul Dunn of Slow Hand, Loene Carmen has once again proved with the pleasingly lo-fi Rock ‘n’ Roll Tearsthat she is an intelligent, candid songwriter with a voice so seductive that you’d rip your own heart out and hand it to her if she asked you to. Irresistible stuff.

Bobby Townsend