Released: 2005, Small Stone Records
Oh man, you just know that when one of those fuzzy, ‘70s-obsessed, bearded weirdos gets a hold of a studio and bashes out a solo album, it’s going to be an acidic trip into Bizzaroworld. In this instance, the bearded weirdo is one Erik Larson, guitarist and driving force behind Alabama Thunderpussy. He has one other solo disc lurking in the shadows, THE RESOUNDING, from 2001.
As you’d expect, Larson’s solo music is just as fuzzed-out, retro, and honest as his main band, FAITH, HOPE, LOVE slashing Larson’s wrists and spilling his bloody truths into the world for our consumption. Slightly more laid-back than the Thunderpussies, Larson the solo artist is free to explore the many dark musical corners of his brain, and explore he does, from the expected introspection of “Feedback”, into the strangely melodic TOO FAST FOR LOVE-era Vince Neil vocals of “The Bar Song”, all the way to the ragingly punkish attitude of “Smile” and “By My Hands”.
All in all, FAITH, HOPE, LOVE is a mixed bag, as most solo albums are. I s’pose that’s the point, Larson free to experiment and record as he will, all just barely within the comfortable confines of the Alabama Thunderpussy style. Hell, a riff-rocker like “Bloodshot” could easily fit onto STARING AT THE DIVINE. Still, this is the storyteller Erik Larson, weaving personal tales, occasionally with the help of his retro-ized alter ego. Count me on board for about ¾ of this lovable mess, the rest being either just a little too luded or a little too over the top to be coherent. If you’re a fan though, man this shit will give a wicked buzz.