Collen Duffy (aka “Devil Doll”) has the whole burlesque, rockabilly frontwoman persona down pat, from her black sleeked hair and ruby lips to red lace and gothic tattoos. Her latest engages in the bump-and-thump rumble of rockabilly, but pleasantly enough it careens into unexpected genres, too—everything from alt-country to surfy blues gets covered. Best of all, Duffy knows when to hold back, reserving her bad-assitude for special moments of full-throttle eruption.
The cover of the Old 97s’ “Doreen” is meatier than the original and when she growls “Come clean, Doreen” it comes off less like Rhett Miller’s heartbreaking plea and more like a teeth-gritting, smoldering demand. “Sweet Lorraine” could be a lost track from the “Twin Peaks” soundtrack in its haunting breeziness. And “Lord’s Prayer” is a heartfelt entreaty for true love, once you get past the very un-churchy line, “Dear God, please don’t fuck me on this one.” Even if “Queen of the Road” stagnates in boring bluesiness, everything including the fiddle-filled, candlelit ballad “Tortured” makes it worthwhile. In the end it’s a masterful blend of brazen rock, unsettling storytelling, and winking sensuality. (Erika Fredrickson)
Devil Doll plays The Other Side Monday, April 28, at 9 PM. Black Velvet Elvis and The Goddamn Gallows open. $8.