The Ettes – Wicked Will

written by: August 25, 2011
The Ettes - Wicked Will LP album cover Release Date:


With Wicked Will, The Ettes get back to basics. Foregoing the expansion on their previous record, Do You Want Power, the group sticks to their garage punk revival sound. Musically, the Los Angeles trio can be likened to The Stooges and The Rolling Stones, with melodies that come across as a dark version of AM pop tunes. It doesn’t help that the group was a couple years late to the party, behind the surge of garage revival bands who got all of the attention. Nevertheless, The Ettes continue serve up their sound with confidence and grit and Wicked Will is a solid addition to their catalogue.

“Teeth,” a seething acoustic track, opens the album. Heaps of reverb and meticulous production give the piece a creepy, quiet menace as Lindsay “Coco” Hames asserts, “Every time you smile I can tell you’re just showing your teeth.” An ominous cloud looms over the song. There’s definitely a storm brewing.

And it’s not long before that storm strikes. “Excuse” is an angry, energetic number ushering in a fast-paced, raw and raging album. Fuzz bass and pounding drums drive the songs, riding on the same plane as Coco’s guitar, often drenched in vintage effects. Her vocals are assured and confrontational.

She has a lot of statements to make, and her tone makes that very clear.

And so do the track titles, among them “You Never Say,” “Trouble with You” and “Don’t Bring Me Down,” though it’s not always quite as it seems. In the latter, for instance, Coco wants some hot lovin’, singing “I’m pretty sure you got what I need, boy. Don’t bring me down.” But she’s more than just pretty sure, and she’s not going to be brought down. The album carries that sort of attitude through its brisk run of 13 songs in just more than 30 minutes.

Liam Watson deserves some extra credit for his production work on this album. He only does what he needs to and nothing else. The kind of production that doesn’t make itself obvious. He gives the group an accurate old school tone with some seriously creepy reverb, often making Coco’s vocals sound sinister and more demanding of the listener’s attention, especially to whom the lyrics are directed.

Karen O and Nick Zinner have taken garage punk/rock revival thing to a whole other level with the Yeah Yeah Yeahs—and they did it almost 10 years ago. Fever to Tell renders Wicked Will kind of tame and boring. But those interested in a simpler take with throwback qualities will find The Ettes’ latest right up their alley.

The Ettes – Wicked Will Tracklist:

  1. “Teeth”
  2. “Excuse”
  3. “The Pendulum”
  4. “You Were There”
  5. “My Heart”
  6. “You Never Say”
  7. “One By One”
  8. “Trouble With You”
  9. “Don’t Bring Me Down”
  10. “Stay Where You Are”
  11. “I Stayed Too Late”
  12. “My Baby Cried All Night Long”
  13. “Worst There Is”