JOHNNY DOWD The Pawnbroker's Wife (Catamount) Rating: NNN Rating: NNN
Just when Johnny Dowd seemed to be getting a handle on how to use his guitar to wring the menace out of his twisted tales of bemused fatalism, he's gone south with cheap synthesizers on The Pawnbroker's Wife. The primitive wheeze and bleep of the analog devices -- somewhere between the zany buzz of Vic Mizzy and the avant tweakery of the Residents -- actually does contribute to the unsettling vibe. Unfortunately, the goofy sounds tend to undercut the implicit threats in Dowd's narratives, and that's a problem. Johnny Dowd plays the Tequila Lounge Friday (October 4).