Tempted as I am to gush over this find of mine from the dark ages of grunge (which genre was later pushed under the banner of friggin alternative rock……i.e. alternative to my ass rubbing over a toilet seat) I won’t gush over it. Rather, I shall go through this like a sane person.
There’s not much of a chance that anyone today has heard of, or if they have, remembers this band. You see, after Nevermind, there was deluge of grunge bands wanting to make it big, trying to rip off Nirvana, Soundgarden et all. Most of these bands sucked. Badly. But, unfortunately, some legitimately good bands got lost in that deluge. Paw was one band that did not suck and still played grunge music. Grunge, with emphasis on the hard rock and metal riffs rather than the punk part of it. And the poor guys got criticized as derivative for doing it. Fuckin stupid assholes, critics are.
So its 1993 and you are band that likes playing hard rock with a touch of metal without all the stupid dumb sex jokes and machismo. In 1993 if you played hard rock with a touch of metal with light parts evoking memories of classic rock you got categorized as grunge. If you got characterized as grunge you were compared with Nirvana. If you got compared with Kurt Cobain and his boys you were inevitably cast down as derivative. Paw is one of those unlucky bands, that had to live under the shadow of friggin “God” Nirvana.
This, their debut was the only album which did get some recognition and radio play back then. I really like the sound of the album, even if there is not much variation throughout. But then I like Motorhead, and well, don’t you know, Motorhead has as much variation as that of porn movies. And without varying much, both give me orgasms. Yay !!
No, really, Dragline by Paw Who? is a nice early 90’s hard rock (labeled grunge, well have it your way then, grunge it is) album chockfull of good riffs and some memorable songs. The style and arrangement of song does not vary much, its pretty much your “heavy dirty mean riff intro with drums to complement then opening lines, heavy riff continues, then the soft part with chorus which lightens up the song then its back to the heavy part, repeat.”
But the album does have some good shelf life, “Sleeping Bag”, the title track, “The Bridge” and “Gasoline” are all good steady tracks which will give the retro rockers of today longing for good ole 90’s grunge a good time while “Jessie” and “Lolita” are flat out, outstanding tracks, as good rock songs as you will ever find from this era, and yes that includes “Smells Like Teen Spirit” and “Black Hole Sun” !!
“Jessie” is about a dog and I love everything about the song right from its gruff start and the way the lyrics have been sung, in that growling, gruff but at the same time emotional style. The “light” and “heavy” parts complement each other perfectly and at no time does anything sound out of place. “Lolita” is about…..yes, you guessed it…..and the theme is perfectly complemented by the soundscaping and lyrics. Excellent song. Sadly overlooked. Both songs show the potential the genre of grunge had. You see, grunge was the counter to the stupid excesses of glam rock. Grunge was all about.. lets say “Bleach” by Nirvana……that’s grunge….but it was also about Dragline in many respects too.
Check it out, at the very least, “Jessie” and “Lolita” need to be heard by every rock fan who thinks that Nirvana and Soundgarden were cool.