Ostensibly based out of North Carolina, the plower trio Paint Fumes are really one of those “wherever I lay my hat is my home” deals. And if you’ve ever seen one of their live shows, you’d know why. More often than not, somewhere in the midst of their trashy cacophony, a flailing cat fight breaks out, a kicked beer bottle hits the head of an attendee, and/or the band members themselves get a bit confused as to what the hell is going on. Hence these guys have diamond-honed the art of getting the hell out of there and crashing somewhere secret for the night. In other words, they put on a great rock’n’roll show in the tradition of all those bands that mothers warned daughters about back when rock’n’roll came with warnings.
Formed in 2011, by 2012 they unleashed their excellently slashy debut LP, Uck Life (Slovenly), a kind of pinnacle of post-Black Lips garage rock psychotix. What followed was a maelstrom of worldwide touring, after-party crashing, threats, accusations, a lot of laughs, and a few very serious accidents, which Google can tell you about.
We will tell you that despite appearing like classic fuck-ups, the three have survived it all, and after a hiatus of sorts, put it all back together for their excellent sophomore slab, If It Ain’t Paint Fumes, It Ain’t Worth a Huff (Get Hip). The title and cover art are a nod to the ol’ Stiff Records catch phrase which is just one way the band slyly shows they ain’t just another bunch of drunk punks.
Singer/guitar slinger Elijah von Cramon bemoans and Thunders-stumbles into searing guitar leads from Brett Whittlesey, while drummer Joshua Johnson — the most nomadic of them all — somehow snatches the reins of every tornado tune and pulls them to their screeching halts. It’s easy to forget, amidst Paint Fumes’ sleazy and soul-pained garage dust-ups, how tough it can be to ultimately come out with catchy tunes and solid shows. But they do it like accidentally kicking another beer bottle at the back wall.