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No doubt, Wussy is a questionable name for a band. But considering Chuck Cleaver's prior group's moniker it's probably an improvement. Interestingly, Ass Ponys and Wussy have a similar connotation.

Cleaver had a solo performance scheduled in '01. It's tough being on the stage alone. There's nobody to fall back on or commiserate with following the show. Lisa Walker joined Cleaver onstage that evening which led to a romantic relationship and the Cincinnati based Wussy, but that happened some time later.

Cleaver gained some notoriety as the vocalist/guitarist for the indie band Ass Ponys. The group made its debut in the '90s with "Mr. Superlove." Over time, Cleaver and Walker formed a band. The addition of bassist Mark Messerly and drummer Dawn Burman completed the line-up. In '05 Cleaver decided to focus his attentions on Wussy which forced Ass Ponys to go on hiatus.

Wussy's debut, "Funeral Dress," dropped in '05 with "Left For Dead" arriving three years later. '08 also saw Joe Klug replace Burman.

Usually, if a group has a self-titled album it's the first one. But tossing convention aside - not for the first time - Wussy's third album, an '09 release, was named after the band.

Wussy returned in late '11 with "Strawberry." Shifting a bit from the Walker/Cleaver axis, the album was co-produced by Klug. And the kicker track, "Pulverized," leaned heavily on Messerly's organ work.

Wussy Discography


2005 Funeral Dress
2007 Left For Dead
2008 Rigor Mortis EP
2009 Wussy
2011 Strawberry

Wussy is an indie Folk-Rock band. That means that they jangle and can stretch their sound to the early Pretenders ("Gone Missing"). Lyrically, "Wussy" documents a painful break-up and failed reconciliations that hasn't been drilled so deeply since Fleetwood Mac's heyday.

On first listen, songs with Walker's lead vocals are more appealing than Cleaver's. After a couple unexceptional tracks, Cleaver connects on "Magic Words" and "This Will Not End Well." Both songs are toward the end of album. Walker's makes a strong impression with "Gone Missing" then takes it home on "Happiness Bleeds" and the sharp "All The Bugs Are Crawling."

Like its predecessor, "Strawberry" deals with faltering relationships and meaningful moments - "Waiting Room" and "Wrist Rocket"- taking out the "ampersand between your name and mine." The set also wades deeply into the quirky ("Grand Champion Steer") but those moments rarely come together.

The good news is the set opener, "Asteroid," is the expected Folk-Rock. That core sound returns on "Mountain Of Tires." "Pulverized" is delightfully demented Garage-Punk with a Vox organ. It could have been a B-52's track. To touch another base, there's "Chicken," a slice of pure post-Grunge.

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