The third season of Noah Hawley’s anthologized Fargo TV series was my least favorite of the three, but the best element of that arc by far was Carrie Coon’s portrayal of Gloria Burgle, a small-town Minnesota police chief who just wasn’t made for these times. Coon’s character was an old-fashioned crime-solver struggling to wrap her level head around a world transforming beyond recognition. Her husband left her for another man. Her department was being absorbed by a larger municipality intent on modernizing her approach and marginalizing her investigative instincts. She and 21st-century technology were so at odds that automatic sliding doors never seemed to notice she was there.
For well over a decade, Lisa Walker and former Ass Ponys frontman Chuck Cleaver have been co-leading Wussy, one of Cincinnati’s great rock ‘n’ roll exports. Like Gloria Burgle’s policing, Wussy’s music is hearty and out of step with current trends: guitar-powered rock songs steeped in Midwestern twang and ’60s psych, marked by two rugged voices intertwining at great heights. They simply do what they know how to do, and they do it well. And now they have a whole new album of it.
Today Wussy announce What Heaven Is Like, their seventh LP. The lead single, “Gloria,” is a prime example of their approach, a jangling roots-rocker awash in grandiose lo-fi shimmer, topped off by that signature interplay between Walker’s steadfast clarion call and Cleaver’s gruff bellow. As you might have surmised, it’s inspired by none other than Fargo’s Gloria Burgle. Here’s more from Walker:
Yeah, in a weird way Fargo rings very true for me. I grew up in Muncie and went to school in a one-stoplight town called Gaston.. but I also spent some time living in Eagan, Minnesota. So I appreciate the Coens’ and Hawley’s sympathetic and often-realistic portrayals of Midwestern characters. Both the heroes and the villains. There are moments of shining valor, but it’s not all flyover sweetness. There are certain skills you hone to survive, we all do… and so the people you meet here (I live in Cincinnati – but referring to the Midwest in general) are a pretty interesting lot. A lotta grit, cunning and wisdom. Despair too, but hope often comes out on top. Either way, it’s pretty raw out here.
I wrote the song in pieces between binge-watching portions. I had to take a big break in the middle, because I got too damn depressed. I was still reeling from the whole election thing, and it was mirroring real life a little too much. So the early versions of the lyrics got really dark for a while. But then I finally jumped back in… (I think an episode of Broad City might have inspired me to just move on)… and that episode with the Stranger in the bowling alley… Good god.. It brought me to tears. Like sobbing uncontrollably. It was this cathartic moment that I needed. i can’t even explain why, but it was this sort of healing moment. Anyhow… I digress. Gloria became this very hallowed character for me. The invisible woman who rises up. She’s the goddam hero we need right now.
01 “One Per Customer”
04 “Tall Weeds”
06 “Aliens In Our Midst”
05/24 Manchester, UK @ The Castle
05/25 York, UK @ Crescent
05/26 Durham, UK @ Old Cinema Launderette.
05/27 Glasgow, UK @ CCA
05/29 Cardiff, UK @ The Moon
05/30 Leicester, UK @ The Musician
05/31 London, UK @ The 100 Club
06/01 Brighton, UK @ The Hope & Ruin
06/03 Amsterdam, NL @ Paradiso Noord
06/06 Berlin, DE @ Musik & Frieden
06/07 Offenbach am Main, DE @ Hafen 2
06/08 Zurich, CH @ TBA
06/09 Frieburg, DE @ Swamp
06/12 Colchester, UK @ Arts Centre
What Heaven Is Like is out 5/18 on Shake It (US) and Damnably (UK). Pre-order it here.