What's better than a great bass line? Why, two of course. That dual rumbling bottom end forms the basis (no pun intended) of Two Ton Boa's heavy-duty underground rock. On the debut, Parasiticide, those bass lines are fleshed out with raw throbbing drums, keys, chord organ, banjolele ... and nary a guitar. Think Morphine combined with a nightmarish old-timey feel similar to Tom Waits' Blood Money.
A "band" in only a cursory sense, TTB is built around Northwesterner Sherry Fraser's powerful yowl, which is both reminiscent of PJ Harvey and partakes of a young Nick Cave's giddy black humor -- and his eye for macabre narrative. As Fraser sings on "Gumshoe," "If I'm a train on the tracks, then you're the hobo on my back / You're a parasitic free-loading rat! / I'll call you Clyde, cause you're a mack, in your coat and your pilfered hat / Hunting Bonnies with your rat-a-tat-tat." Tellingly, one of the album's songs is titled "Bad Seed."
Many of Parasiticide's songs concern the politics of gender and femininity, yet that thoughtfulness never overshadows Fraser's croon or the music's sexy sinuous rumble. And that's a good trick -- almost as good as using two basses.