Puerto Muerto – Stars EP

Puerto Muerto
Stars EP

The pipes of Evanescence fused with the evil undertones of black-metal bands poured into an acoustic guitar and stirred liberally. This band has the fear-pop market cornered, with a gun in one hand and a knife in the other.
I must admit that I’ve always been biased against women in rock. Yes, I’m a bigot, but if a girl doesn’t have an operatic voice (Evanescence, Ettison Clio), she usually isn’t up to par with male singers. Then again…there are a lot of male singers who aren’t up to par with male singers. Nevertheless, my bigotry remains, partly because I can’t stand hearing a chick who sounds more like a man than I do (see Brody Dalle of the Distillers). But no unfounded stereotypes can be perpetuated for long.
Puerto Muerto is a husband-and-wife duo, with Tim Kelley rocking the drums and Christa Meyer supplying the vocals and the guitars. Because the drums contribute more to the mood of the songs than is normal in a band, the guitars contribute very little to the mood. That’s notable because this is folk, which was built on alcohol and acoustic guitar. It’s completely understandable once the vocals crank up, though. The vocals OWN this album. Part musical, part B-grade horror movie, part spoken, and all catchy, the vocal cords of Meyer turn this dark folk album into what it is: a seething, contorted, downright evil-sounding piece of folk mayhem.
There are only three songs on this teaser EP (Their upcoming full album is titled – not coincidentally – See You in Hell), but those 12 minutes and 37 seconds are quite a rush. The opener, “Stars,” is hauntingly melancholy, as the clicks, thumps, and booms that emerge from the drums mesmerize the listener. The closer, “Alcohol,” is stark to an intimidating degree, as Meyer’s dry, swooping vocals are alone beside an acoustic guitar. But both of those are nothing next to the stand-out track “Tennessee.” Menacing, ominous, foreboding, yet inviting, this song is the downright creepiest track I’ve heard in a long time. When a few background vocals come in on the chorus, the sound created could be duplicated if a group of zombies started singing backup for their zombie queen. It’s. That. Freaky.
There aren’t very many bands who make me think differently in 12 minutes of music. I hope there are more women like Meyer out there who make music, cause then I would completely drop my avoidance of women in music. I’m looking forward to See You in Hell (Man, that sounds like a bad action movie line) because if it’s like Stars, then it’s going to be one fiery piece of folk (also sounds like an action movie line).