Bastard Lovechild of Rock n’ Roll (BLORR) are the humbuckin’ pickups on an old reliable Telecaster and the bottleneck sliding up and down the fretboard. But they’re also the melancholy chords that take you back to a certain summer in a certain secret garden with a certain someone you lost long ago.
Oh, and this Florida duo of Cookie SugarHips (aka Chris Hess) on vocals, guitar, and keyboards; and Hot Damm Sweet Huckleberry Winn (aka Adam Winn) on drums and keyboards, kicks some serious ass on their debut EP Bim Bom. Not only can these two pump out some hard-rockin’ delta blues jams, they mix it all up with spot-on ethereal and perfectly creepy psychedelic “ghost rock” while laying down emotionally wrenching and heartfelt original bossa nova numbers that sound like the scent of orange blossoms and night-blooming jasmine drifting in on an offshore breeze.
References to Lorca’s fervid lunar love poems and shimmery images of lovers scampering amongst a vineyard’s grapevines add to the phantasmagoric theme entailing a love affair between Cookie SugarHips and his fictional muse Delisa. In this way,Bim Bom is a stunning work of conceptual art.
“Boy You Need Jesus” echoes the eternal struggle between good and evil in rock ‘n’ roll, featuring some blistering slide guitar and thumping drums. Synthesizers and Cookie SugarHips’ howling falsetto take over on “Hallelujah, I’m BLORR’n Again” introducing the muse Delisa: “Words dripped from the wall like paint/As she screamed ‘come one come all’ for the gospel age/No matter the height, no matter the night/She showered me with love and said you must be sworn in/but Hallelujah, I’ve been BLORR’n again.”
Throughout Bim Bom, phrases referencing other songs and recurring characters appear and reappear like ghostly maritime apparitions breaking an inky ocean’s calm surface on a moonlit night. Between the shamanistic “Seven Sisters” and the theremin-like synthesizers of “My Terrific Tushhh” comes one of the most impressive contemporary bossa nova tunes in recent memory, “My Blushing Grape” (featuring the lovely Alexandra Lawn of Ra Ra Riot), a haunting, siren song between Delisa and Cookie: “I like the Bim Bom, the summer love love./Claro es tu Delisa, oh, how it will always be./Claro es tu, my blushing grape.” This is enough to make even the most jaded Gilberto smile.
“Booty Makin’ Baby Shakin’” is an insistent and bluesy rocker about chasing the muse, and learning that, yes, the muse indeed likes and needs the chase. “My Poor Delisa” provides another bossa nova break with images of black hearts and insomniac nights of wide-eyed dreams ripe with singing. But the interesting thing about this song is in its central idea of the album: Out of Cookie SugarHips’ love for Delisa and his infatuation with the idea of her, the eponymous bastard lovechild is born. Bim Bom finishes with “A Baby Is Born,” a child made from the powerful union of moon and night, while “Oh Christopher” is delightfully dreamlike, transporting us to that secret garden from long ago.
Heady stuff for a rock ‘n’ roll album, but then again, this is no ordinary album. Expect great things from this talented duo.