Just when the rest of us Missoula musicians think Tom Catmull might be loosening his grip on the top of the food chain, he goes and releases his most ambitious album yet.
Glamour Puss delivers on the promise of the band’s 2006 eponymous effort, which blew up on the strength of “All the Good in the World,” an impossibly catchy tune that received a ton of local airplay. The rest of that album, while up to Catmull’s usual high standards, was more Jack Johnson than Jack White.
Enter Glamour Puss, where the first song out of the chute signals an album with balls. “Change Your Mind” is a gritty, bluesy shuffle propelled by Travis Yost’s crisp drumming and John Sporman’s popping doghouse bass. Catmull’s AM-radio vocal is supple and understated, adding just a hint of menace to the song.
The real star of Glamour Puss, though, is Gibson Hartwell’s stellar electric guitar work. Muscular in some places, twangy in others, pretty when it needs to be, his playing is always articulate and sure-handed. Happily, he gets to cut loose more than ever on this album. It rocks.
Looks like the king of the local music hill might just reign a while longer.
Tom Catmull & the Clerics play a CD release show at the Elk’s Club Friday, May 8, at 8 PM, with Drunken Prayer. $12/$10 advance.