“PISSED OFF!” Those are the words that open the title track to Kory Clarke’s brand new solo album Payback’s a Bitch, which comes out worldwide on September 22 via Cargo Records. The cool thing though is that as angry as that may sound, the song is a straight-ahead rocker that has a great chorus that you’ll be singing for hours, maybe even days afterward. This record is quite the musical Bouillabaisse; a ton of different things coming at you but when put together they go down real smooth, like your favorite beer. Kory sounds like he’s actually having the time of his life for much of the disc and having interviewed him about it recently you could just tell how proud he was of these songs, and rightfully so.
Another rocker follows with “Freak” something that wouldn’t have been out of place on WARRIOR SOUL’S The Space Age Playboys album before we get our first twist of the day in “Devil’s Highway”. It starts by dipping its toes in the Industrial pool and the guitars remind me of something along the lines of GRAVITY KILLS or STABBING WESTWARD. Next up is a really touching slow tune with a Southern tinge to it, “What Good is Goodbye” which was an album favorite from the get-go. The delivery, man…you gotta be able to feel it, and when he sings you do. Immediately following this it’s all aboard the funk-train for “Get Down to Bizzness”. Wait…what? Yep. That just happened. And I dare you to not hit REPEAT as soon as it’s done. With some killer saxophone and sassy female backing vocals this one shoots and scores.
And ERMAHGERD, can I just tell you about “Jägermeister Machine”?!? Techno-injected and completely taking the piss out of some Euro-trash named Hans and Dieter, this one is not A favorite, it’s THE favorite on the record, hands down. I think I spent the next 48 hours walking around, “Ja, Ja, Jägermeister Machine” driving people nuts. I need to figure out a way to star in the video! Just a total bit o’cheeky fun that is simply addictive. And out of this crazy left turn, we hang a right for “Hoezone” which has an alternative feel to it while still managing to keep it lighthearted. However, that trademark Clarke venom is back on “Rock ‘N’ Roll Genocide”, talking about the sorry state of generic American bands littering the musical landscape today; SHOTS FIRED!
It’s 2 a.m., you’re out with your crew in some smoky joint and your mate says, “I love singin’ for you guys” before getting the band to do one more sweet, soulful number by the name of “The Last Hand”. When Kory sings “I’ll bring that money back to you, baby” you believe him as his voice tugs at your heartstrings. But that’s nothing compared to the emotional workout you’re gonna get with piano ballad and closer “Meet Me in Las Vegas”. A beautiful string arrangement only compliments the sounds of Kory Clarke pouring his heart out to someone. Who I guess we’ll never know, but the song is emotionally searing, with feelings laid bare for all the world to see.
There are a lot of words I could use to sum up Payback’s a Bitch: ambitious, eclectic, risky, ballsy, the list goes on. And it is truly all of those things, but at the end of the day it is more emotion than anything else. Kory Clarke didn’t make this album for you, or me. He did it for himself; he took a canvas and painted a picture and simply decided to share it with the world. And I am very glad he did…
STANDOUT TRACKS: “Jägermeister Machine”, “Get Down to Bizzness”, “Rock ‘N’ Roll Genocide”, “Meet Me in Las Vegas”, “The Last Hand”, “What Good is Goodbye”