Album Review: A New Way To Pay Old Debts by Bill Orcutt
Exceptionally Good, Based on 3 Critics
PopMatters - 90 Based on rating 9/10
Few acts on the landscape of modern creative music can claim to come close to the kind of free-form ferocity dished out by Miami’s Harry Pussy back in its mid-‘90s heyday. More than 15 years since that band’s untimely demise, the blues is attacked with the same menacing fervor as noise-rock was on the brilliant A New Way to Pay Old Debts, the 2009 solo masterstroke from former HP guitarist Bill Orcutt. Originally released on the tiny Palilalia label, it’s now masterfully reissued by the folks at Editions MEGO.
It's always impressive when artists make radical shifts without losing any of the intangible qualities that make their approach recognizable. What's more remarkable about Bill Orcutt's stylistic transformation is that it comes after a decade of dormancy. His inimitable electric guitar sound-- a brittle howl akin to knives breaking glass-- was silenced by the late-1990s demise of his notorious noise trio, Harry Pussy.
A New Way to Pay Old Debts LP (Palilalia – 2009) reissued as A New Way to Pay Old Debts CD (Editions Mego – 2011) and Way Down South one-sided 12” LP (Palilalia – 2010) These two recordings can be dealt with as a unit, if like me, you’re a new convert to Orcutt’s work. I was aware of his 90s noise band, Harry Pussy, without particularly paying a lot of attention to them. The density and intensity of their relentless freeforming can be jawdropping – but I have to confess that for me they are not a band I am ever likely to find myself thinking about actually listening to.