Cory Hanson’s third solo LP follows upon 2020’s luminescent Pale Horse Rider, upping the heat to molten levels, six strings at a time. In search of further adventures, Cory draws with vampiric glee from the madness coursing through the world outside; a spiraling shitshow that’s reawakened a compulsion in him — an old ambition, even! — to crush brutality and elegance together into a fresh set of rocks to hail down upon us.
Western Cum is a high-stepping, hard-dancing, first love/heartbreak, tonight’s-the-night, future nostalgia kind of good time — the sound of guitars through the speakers of luxury cars. Like the dream you had once, alone, asleep in an amplifier, blasting Guns N’ Roses through every last orifice in your body. And it’s coming through!
It’s another side of midnight somewhere; high o’clock too, and the dark, cactaceaen fantasias of the previous incarnation have hardened and dried in Cory’s pre-apocalyptic garden of choice, a sun-blinded plain of sedimentary rock. Down the highway, beyond the horizon, through the looking glass, etc — he’s fixed for rough times ahead, a gunslinger/anti-hero of legend/infamy, back in town with axe blazing and a rhythm trio dubbed “Slowhand” walking up the crazy horse he rode in on. You ready to boogie?
Western Cum’s map to the treasure is less about pastiche, though; more toward executing the songs by executioner’s axe, rolling their decapitated rhythm heads and soaring melodies, the panoply of Cory’s melodic impulses with guitars, guitars, guitars. Harmony leads are just the tip of the iceberg, but be quick — the guitars like to melt everything in their path! The eight songs of Western Cum are driven by the stalwart bass of brother Casey Hanson and the drums of Evan Backer with a few passing acoustics from Cory and the intermittent spirit-moans of Tyler Nuffer’s steel guitar.
The quartet sound — two guitars, bass and drums — acts as beat-making principle/phrasing device, as well as template for Cory’s layers of six-string and vocal textures. From the rooftop of their musical safe house — the band in their makeshift hut and Cory ensconced in an outhouse — they let loose with a blast both face-melting and mind-blowing: a social service that gives constipation a good name.
With Western Cum, this debauched and shameless world is redeemed in the same breath as it is repudiated. A massing of voices and guitars form an almost post-gospel harmony, bright and burgeoning, engorging the thermostat, prising the pressure from your chest before the final wink-out. Maybe it’s a mirage . . . but those things are just another part of reality, ain’t they?