Scott H. Biram, Graveyard Shift

Amelia Raitt

By Amelia Raitt

on 04.22.11 in Reviews

It's no accident that the word "graveyard" is in the title of the second record by Austin's Scott H. Biram. The songs are stark and spooky, shot through with death and as ominous as a nasty eulogy. Biram's got no need for niceties like strings and horns — or even a drum kit. His songs are deep-fried and ruthlessly minimal (most tracks feature little beyond Biram's yowling vocals and a single grimy guitar). But his frenzied playing and passionate delivery more than compensates. He delivers "Only Jesus" like an itinerant preacher, sweating and sermonizing with reckless abandon. "Goin 'Home" is gritty, greasy and gothic, like 16 Horsepower done in minature. Graveyard Shift boils country down to its skeleton and then it makes those dry bones dance.