The sophomore solo effort from Deadly Snake Andre Ethier comes from the same place as Tom Waits's Closing Time -- a loose-limbed bourbon fog of slurring barstool come-ons couched in saloon piano and hangover apologias that unspool through wheezy strumming and raunchy horns. Ethier's mastered the 70s cool-but-sensitive dude thing: girls are forever 'babe,' and he doesn't wanna hold her hand, he's a bee to her honey, hungry for sweetness from her candy store. That idiom is part of what helps set the tone here, though the vintage organ and warm but ragged production also make Ethier's disc sound like an artifact from a bygone era. But Ethier's not the most polished singer, and what's easily overlooked in brash garage rock can be grating in a more intimate context. The songs are best when he's working the deep baritone at the low end of his register and falter when he's straining to hit notes an octave higher.
Ethier gives an in-store performance at Soundscapes Tuesday (August 8).