When this whisky-fuelled, sometimes misanthropic Texas singer-songwriter (a one-man electric bluesman and psychobilly rocker) drops the energy levels he has terrific songs: Never Comin' Home is in the Kristofferson tradition of world-weary reflection, and he can tell a convincing story (the vet on Nam Weed). On the harmonica-wheeze of I'm Troubled he's travelling the same dirt roads as Woody.
But his major setting is furious, metal-edge blues (booze, women, death, the devil) which is an implosion of early White Stripes, George Thorogood, John Lee Hooker and Lightnin' Hopkins. He haunts the old Jack of Diamonds, convincingly pulls off Howlin' Wolf's Backdoor Man and, when he's got a mood on - which is often - he seethes with pure menace and fury.
Them Church Point Girls who done him wrong and "put a crack in a perfect sky" is gonna pay, fer sure. He's torn between sin and salvation, but three bonus tracks are all old gospel: Amazing Grace, When I Die and John the Revelator.
Whichever side he dips on, Biram - now about 10 albums in - is a troubled soul and probably ain't gonna change, no-how. Praise the Lord for that.
Verdict: Rage and white lightning uncorked, and heartachers too
Click here to buy Nothin' But Blood.
- TimeOut / elsewhere.co.nz